You’re not there, of course, as I step gingerly across
the iron bridge, watching the falls blow rainbows
like bubbles from a children’s pipe. You don’t see me
on the highground view of Manhattan amid a lawn
of flowering litter. You don’t sit with me at the base
of the falls watching the watery blood drift through
its veins to the tattered city. You don’t fume with me
as I listen to a lady tell the ranger how dangerous
this city is (& she’s never been here before). You’re
just not here, but I am here, and here again; you are
my guide, you and your red barrow after the rain,
you and your old lady with her bag full of plums, you
and the young wife on a porch in her night dress as
you motor along on your rounds (you loved her a little,
I think), your ballgame crowd screaming with just one
soul; you Poe-ish contagious hospital adorned by the mud
and dying weeds of winter; I know you don’t see the falls
with me, unafraid as the Passaic rears back its fist, punches
Paterson with  all its muscular love; you can’t talk, so I do
the talking and it is enough; you listen as a I say how f—ing
frustrating it is that this garden state of shopping strips and
Starbucks at every exit little recalls just who in the hell you are!