January In New York

Black ship of night
sailing through the world
& the moon an orange slice
tangy to the teeth
of lovers who lie
under it,
sucking it.

Somewhere there are palm trees;
somewhere the sea
bluely gathers itself up
& lets itself fall again
into green;
somewhere the spangles
of light on the ocean
dazzle the eyes;
but here in the midnight city,
the black ship of night
has docked
for a long, dark stay,
& even the citrus moon
with its pockets of juice
cannot sweeten the dark.

Then the snow begins,
whirling over the Pole,
gathering force over Canada,
sprinkling the Great Lakes with sugar
which drowns in their deep black cups;
it is drawn to the spires of New York
& the flurries come
scampering at first,
lighthearted, crystalline, white,
but finally
sucked into the city
as into a black hole
in space.

The sky is suddenly pink-
pink as flesh: breasts,
babies' bottoms. Night is
day; day is whiter than the desert;
the city stops like a heart;
pigeons dip & veer
& come to rest
under the snow-hatted

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