New York City

By the sun I know the stairs from the street
face north. I go up, mote rising through slanted
light, through the door that locks the City out.
Into the darksome hush. I do not disturb the pods
each tethered to a different zero point. I go up

one flight, then two. Here the path turns east
then south again from the old Hasidic fellow’s
room with blackout curtains who sits at his table,
white beard guarding his chest, reading scripture
by candlelight in the afternoon, past the shared

bathroom, toward the kitchen at the end of the hall.
Halfway down I stop, turn west, insert the key into
the lock and open the door to my room. Window
facing North Dakota a hundred years ago. Single
bed in the south and east corner. Table and chair

at the foot. I sit to write then lower my forehead
to the cool green formica. In the whereabouts,
bed spring frenzy thumps and growls startle then
succumb again to silence. A hand makes its way
back to smooth the hair from my face. The other

remains on the edge, absorbing the petulant reds.
We are bound by a mutual debt, these hands and I.
They are here with me now, inexplicable portend,
old friends tracing the cyan forms hovering between
us, past and future working out the difference.

Asha Anderson