I went up to Manhattan today,
as once a year I do,
around this time, on Easter break,
or “spring break” as they call it here,
to see the doctor, for the test that tells me
how much longer I might live. \1
So also, countless others do...
And when returning, heading south again
on a gray First Avenue, I saw, ahead,
the tall buildings far away, whose tops
had disappeared within the clouds
that swept across Manhattan isle in veils.
That’s something one can see at times
in what the Brooklyners of old still call
And though the traffic was as usual then,
while walking down the sidewalk there I felt
a distance from the madness all around –
a quiet peace, a place of solitude
where time itself was lost, so I could be,
in loneliness, alone with those who’d gone.
And something, other than my hunger, drew
me then to seek and find the cafeteria
in the main building of the hospital. And there
I sat, remembering the times I’d been before
in hospitals, with parents, cousin, aunt –
and others too, my relatives and friends,
who ailed – and how I then would go,
when they were sleeping, for a bite to eat
in such a place.
And almost all were gone…
And I remembered, too, my sojourns in
the hospitals, and how I chafed in them,
a patient in a bed, from childhood on,
and how, each time, I’d willed myself to walk
and so to exit out.
I’d found a window seat,
and there I sat and ate, while looking out
at people walking in the street below.
Manhattan, where my sister once had worked
It was a rainy day, and overcast,
as I sat quietly and read
a chapter of a book – and savored then
this passing Easter break.
2014 April 15th, Tue. 3:58 pm New York, New York
1. I found out later that the test this time
had turned out okay, which was a relief.