Brooklyn the Color of a Hospital Gown

Tonight the sky is moonless black as my tongue
after curry and Pepto Bismal tablets when I ran
to the hospital on Dekalb convinced I was dying
all summer, reading Calvino into the cold gusts
of the air conditioner that jutted over twisted roses
quivering with the drip drip drip of ice blue condensation
as if this machine had tears enough for all of us
while I would sing into the fan unit, watching the vortex
shed from the trailing edge of the blades slice my song
into pieces. Where was the sense? A certainty of dying
like the odor of elephants after a rain and how I had become
only ashes of who I had planned to be, now a hypochondriac
at the ER when I found a lump on my leg, or a blackened tongue,
or the rain that cooled everything for just a moment,
the air becoming clear as a church. I knew I would be leaving soon,
since we couldn’t admit to each other there was no moon,
only hazy stars above the stalls of the carriage houses
on Waverly when I would venture out to move my car,
the streetlight a finger in my eye, the moon a bridge waiting
behind clouds thick and pink as bismuth, the boom boxes
on the stoops playing all the old songs, only smaller.