Tolstoy is in the cold of Madison Avenue, Christmas lit.
Still a scent of horses, men in ties, a marble intensity.
Pigeons come too close,
scatter wind off the wing
I need to go a day without eating
something with Santa’s face on the wrapper.
Five pallbearers dump water
from lily bouquets on to the curb’s snow.
My suitcase rolls past the hearse and their laughter.
That otherworldly fear, in the way Nietzsche
means otherworldly, simply not being here.
This block’s under construction,
under hoarfrost and a ledge
that protects with a shadow.
Underground, a woman taps me and says, “Let’s go.”
I don’t know her or her fur turban.
She moves my suitcase to the turnstile
and pays for my way in.
She thinks I’m a visitor.
She can see the motherless aura I possess.
Neither is true. Yes they are.