In New York City the wide avenues
keep all the light to themselves;
cross streets catch what sun they can
to illuminate the windows of small
stores where you can learn
all there is to know
about one item at a time.


They weren’t even a pair of gloves the girl had left behind.
One was stretched over a mannequin’s hand, the other clasped
within its plaster grasp like a lady at a garden party,
about to make acquaintance, about to be enchantee,
about to be so glad to meet you.


They were white kid, the kind
his mother used to wear and touch
his face in the sun before entering
a restaurant. She’d kept them wrapped
in tissue in her bureau drawer, flattened
by a velvet box that held her pearls.
Bottles of perfume breathed her many moods
on the glass-topped bedroom bureau.


The girl had never actually worn such gloves,
probably wouldn’t buy them,
certainly not here out of the sun.
Snakes, he thought, yearly shed their skin,
and every seven years we also seal
our surfaces anew. He stood
pressing forehead to cool, shaded glass,
asking himself, Where was she?
All the hands in the window waved goodbye.


He went into the store
and bought the gloves,
size seven. Lucky seven.