With Apologies to Grant Wood

If I were a painter, I would paint
“Manhattan American Gothic,”
a portrait of the man and woman
I see every morning not standing
in an Iowa farmyard but sitting

at the window-bar of Starbuck’s
at Broadway and Seventy-Fifth,
no three-pronged pitchfork
between them but two coffee cups
and the Times crossword puzzle,

their faces, that could be those
of transplanted Iowa cousins
of Grant Wood’s subjects,
weather-beaten like old barns,
plain and severe, though the two

do not speak but nevertheless
clearly enjoy their ritual
as much as I enjoy my daily trip
to the iconic Fairway Market,
where shopping is a contact sport,

after which, crossing back east,
I come face to face with them,
who have never acknowledged
me, nor I them, though once when I had
a cane for a few days, I may have seen

a look of concern on their faces,
or at least recognition of a change,
but in my painting they would be looking
into the eyes of the viewer,
two New York mysteries drinking coffee.

Philip Dacey