The river icy in the wind.
Jersey glinting from night’s amalgam. Neon shines
from the luminous, frosted window.
Drunk, twenty years back,
I pitched over handlebars to snow,
proud of my scarred chin at 2 AM
on the Tenth Avenue bridge
after the Mixers had closed.
There Berryman, the drinker of sherry and gin,
would jump to the Mississippi.
But Charlotte Mew drank
disinfectant and begged: Let me go —
obsessed that her dead sister was not dead,
since no vein had been opened.
Blood throbs in my own. A truck
shifts on West Street through the snow,
brilliant under the street light:
the microphotographs, the hexagonal
crystals on black hung once in a show,
caught in their fall to the literal.