Karen Dowell


Leaving New York

All my memories of New York
are like one night stands,
hazy flashes revolving around
unremarkable hotel rooms.
I can no longer tell what I did
and what I saw on Seinfeld.
The episodes blur together,
fuse together,
without pattern or texture.

I wonder how long it will take
this weekend to dissolve
into vague Gotham colours and smells.
How long before my mind
masks the faces of musicians
rushing along restaurant row--
from dinner jazz to Broadway shows,
quiets the voices of village poets
staged witty and woeful,
stems the flow of urban nasal drip
onto awnings and pedestrians,
erases the tattered image of the
red umbrella discarded on West 57th
inches from an empty trash can.

But it really doesn't matter.
As I sit here in LaGuardia,
waiting to leave New York,
I know I'll be back.


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