In The New Sun

by Philip Levine

Filaments of light
slant like windswept rain.
The orange seller hawks
into the sky, a man with a hat
stops below my window
and shakes his tassels.
in Tetuan, the room filling
with the first colors, and water running
in a tub.
A row of sparkling carp
iced in the new sun, odor
of first love, of childhood,
the fingers held to the nose,
or hours while the clock hummed.
The fat woman in the orange smock
places tiny greens at mouth
and tail as though she remembered
or yearned instead for forests, deep floors
of needles, and the hushed breath.
Blue nosed cannisters
as fat as barrels silently
slipping by. "Nitro," he says.
On the roof he shows me
where Reuban lay down
to fuck-off and never woke.
"We're takin little whiffs
all the time."
of glass work their way
through the canvas gloves
and burn. Lifting my black glasses
in the chemical light, I stop
to squeeze one out and the asbestos
glows like a hand in moonlight
or a face in dreams.
Pinpoints of blue
along the arms, light rushing
down across the breasts
missing the dry shadows
under them.
She stretches
and rises on her knees
and smiles and far down
to the sudden embroidery of curls
the belly smiles
that three times stretched slowly moonward
in a hill of child.
Sun through the cracked glass,
bartender at the cave end
peeling a hard-boiled egg. Four
in the afternoon,
the dogs asleep, the river
must bridge seven parched flats
to Cordoba by nightfall.
It will never make it.
I will
never make it. Like the old man
in gray corduroy asleep
under the stifled fan, I have
no more moves,
stranded on an empty board.
From the high hill
behind Ford Rouge, we could see
the ore boats pulling
down river, the rail yards,
and the smoking mountain.
East, the city spreading
toward St. Clair, miles of houses,
factories, shops burning
in the still white snow.
"Share this with your brother,"
he said, and it was always winter
and a dark snow.

Last updated May 02, 2015