REMEMBERING NYC AS AN ANIMAL
- I think its paws ended somewhere vague.
- (I looked with the orange sun toward some old beach.)
- I saw it as a living thing that ran from me
- but felt it, the way you feel a map.
- Sewer sweet: I pet its head. Within it,
- every tuba was a foreign tuba,
- every it was its: bathtub, gramophone,
- garden of twitching peas.
- So on the subway I sat aslant,
- my head, my ownership of my head.
- My book a sidelong shield: eggs up
- spit cup. But when I exited
- the elevator and breathed, a garden—
- big steel men dug stern mid-river
- in my eye, on a sparkling cut of water.
- A vein pushed through the envious heart.
- I blurred those pigeons, and the mist stayed on my hands.
- Parts of me lifted off the runway of my blue airport.
- I had so much in my coat.
LIZ COUNTRYMAN is Writer-in-Residence at the University of South Carolina and coeditor of the poetry journal Oversound with Samuel Amadon. Her poems appear in such journals as American Poetry Review, Boston Review, AGNI, and The Offing.