Hope is necessary in every condition. The miseries of poverty, sickness and captivity would, without this comfort, be insupportable.
-William Samuel Johnson
The New Moon is coming.
It rained this evening and now
Blue tides of cloud drift over
Her waning face as she
Tick tocks the time.
The streets are quiet at this
Hour on Sunday, and I can
Cross the wide New York
Streets without permission.
I walk carefully, avoiding
Patches of sick outside the
Neighborhood’s restaurant row
Where just one small club
Remains open and throbbing
And a few women gather, lit by
Red neon in their tight, white dresses.
I turn into the Fine Fare and put
A few sweets into my basket,
Too embarrassed to patronize the
Deli closer to my apartment where
I have already been once tonight.
The staff has begun to recognize
My face at this hour, and this, too,
Embarrasses me, so I keep my eyes low
Until I’m handed my bag, and I can leave.
I walk back to my room, coughing into my
Sleeve, from which I have hardly left these
Last few days for the rattle in my chest.
Now, I will read something, I will listen,
I will taste and I will leave my flesh, abandon
These sheets where I have simmered and twisted
In the recent nights, my mind full of vision,
Of voices discussing their battle plans
For the light and the dark, churning
In my swollen belly while I seek the cold
With the soles of my feet.
I will ascend into my thought and feeling
I will hover heavily above the ground
Like a pregnant cloud, dark-bottomed,
Ready to burst into a torrent and wash
The sick from the sidewalk, to move through
The streets in a fog, and cover it over
With wet, I thirst so.