Arbor Hill

Albany, NY

In slush-blue light of March, new lovers,
still in separate quarters, breakfast-shy,
suspicious of the budding, walked
the sloped length of the ghetto, holding hands
then not, befriending skinny pitbulls
all the way down to the crystal Hudson.
Makeshift kills bled from the shrunken
snowbanks, hymns from storefront churches, paint
was peeling from a revelation: we were in love

with a city that wasn’t intended -
brick banks full of pigeons, Dutch
mansions turned state’s evidence,
lyric garbage clumping into
stanzas of the blocks. Imagine:

we had meant to leave this place
in separate cars, elope with our ambitions
continents apart. That Sunday
morning as the river froze and shattered
in our earshot, we could still have gone
that way. And then the sun
hit one more spiral fire escape, surmounted
one more scarred rotunda, one more
ragged singing elm, and we were home.

Noah Kucij