DO I REALLY LIVE IN NISKAYUNA NOW? BY ROCHELLE JEWEL SHAPIRO

Fat flakes fall on overreaching loblollies, spruce, and scotch pine.

So much sky, a mountain of clouds rent by archipelagos of drizzly gray. 

The windows of these large aluminum-sided houses

and the occasional brick are blank. Sidewalks,

I miss you

as I walk this macadam road, the only honks

from geese beating their way to elsewhere. Oh, MOMA, 

Carnegie Hall, Times Square, Soho and Noho,

and Frank O'Hara's ghost. Oh,

daylight neon, the Whitney, the pigeons shitting

on the Patience and Fortitude lions in front of the 42nd St. Library. 

Oh, my Bernie, husband of 54 years, partly paralyzed from—

would you believe?—open-heart surgery, I came ahead to ready 

this house for you—the ramps, modifications to the bathroom, 

the lift, while you wait in Little Neck Care Center. Oh,

how you used to grip my hand as we ran to catch the railroad,

you, with your long strides, always before me.

Those lucky days when conductors forgot to hole-punch

our tickets, and we rode free as hobos. 

Come Spring, you will watch me plant a butterfly bush, 

phlox, lantana, and blue star.

Monarchs, cotton whites, and pearl crescents will hover about us. 

Each morning I will waken to you. 

February 5, 2021