New York minute (lucky seven)


A woman falls from a high place
and this is all the information
we are given.

To begin with we don’t know
if she is fallen, bodily broken,
or fallen from grace,
some social catastrophe.

We know nothing whatsoever
apart from the falling and the high place.
A woman has fallen.
Read the report.


The police papers don’t care
for moral judgments;
this is not a fallen woman.

A woman has fallen,
she was a bartender,
working three nights a week,
the early shift, four through eleven.

She was up on top,
only a three flight building,
but fell to her death in a pair of jeans
and a pink T-shirt with the word ‘Lover’
in cheap silver lettering across her chest.


She was dead when they got to her.
Maybe before.

If you were in the bar
(you were in the bar) sat drinking,
you would have seen her,
been served by her.

This dead falling girl
with straight Seventies hair, brown,
parted down the middle beyond her shoulders.


College girl.
In from out of town.
Not at all a New Yorker,
but becoming one, given time.

Would have had a shared apartment.
Maybe two other girls,
one in real estate, one in advertising.
One in love with her married boss,
one hoping for a raise.

She was the wild one, this one,
in the bar and always laughing,
known back in Ohio as somehow destined,
but not for this.


A man walks out of a bar.
Doesn’t stop, doesn’t look left
or right, keeps going.

A man walks out of a bar
in mainly dark clothing
with hardly any hair.

people watch him walk.


Waiting for her boyfriend
to come back from the bathroom
a young woman who is worried
about her skin disease
sees this man move quickly
through the door of the bar.
You see her too.

Another man who wonders whether 3rd Avenue
is where he’s supposed to be
sees a bald man push the clean bar door open,
turn right and light a cigarette all in one movement.


Neither of these people tell anyone this.
Both forget, almost immediately.
As you do.

A boyfriend comes back to a girl
with bad skin but good intentions.
A man finds a phone booth right there,
wises up, heads across to York.

Inside (inside the bar that is)
men wait with their money out,
confused, unserved,
hoping still to order.