The City and the Dawn – Alex Rodriguez

We slept clear through that first summery year,

pure oxytocin, arm in arm, face to face,

and after I’d stayed the night once, I saw her

naked against the window, in the red morning light,

just smiling and daintily brushing her teeth.

I saw through the bathroom’s open door.

I’d never seen light hit her like that before.


While she cleaned her smile, I dreamt of the city,

for the place we lived then wasn’t much of a town,

not how it’d been sold, not how it’d been bought,

and I can’t really say how long I’d been down,

so enchained by that small, regressive thought.

She made her house a home, at least.

I cannot say that of myself.


Next year it rained forty days straight, maybe more,

and her eyes were like candles at the bottom of the sea.

I got sick, and she went dancing in the downpour.

When well, I asked she come to the city with me,

come away from the great many waterlogged hearts

that lay strewn across the gray campus grass.

There are irreplaceable lights in the city, warm lights.

They ride right through the rain, they banish the nights,

She said she’d consider it.

I stayed just in case.


But she stayed and stayed till I could not anymore,

so I caught the five thirty to White Plains, New York.

On the plane, pains supposed to come natural just weren’t.

And once in a while I would see her midflight

in the clouds made orange by the death throes of light.

In the city, I dream of the dawn every night,

but I’ve yet to see it again.

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