Leveler Poetry Journal
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Manhattan Ave


Though the reality of other women excited you, fantasies

about them made you feel excluded.

So I came up with scenarios

involving other men. Me, bruised from knots.

Me, over a railing.

One night, as we were walking to dinner,

I had the fantasy I knew I couldn’t say.

The avenue was dark, a man lay dead or alive

near the marble fountain.

A fog-horn went off in the harbor

and seemed to go on forever, pulsing,

moving closer through the dense, grey night.

The poor ships, I thought, but

nothing could shake the water from my brain.

Cars swam along under the street lamps.

I glided beside you as though roped, my body

displacing the light.

In your eyes I believed I could see

the birches and mild lakes of my childhood.

The challenge of wet surfaces. Cold sedge.

And for the first time I loved this city, though I knew

you would leave me

alone in it. Knew exactly when, and for whom.

Catherine Pond