I remember dressing in my good suit
before even the daylight had begu
knotting a sealskin tie to my throat so cautiously
for a meeting between two families.
As lamps on the roadside were extinguished
by hunched-backed senators fallen on hard times
I was driven through the last of New York
counting intersections and exits as we continued to accelerate.
The Italians, who through birthrate made up the majority
were swarthy in their appearance without a breast left unadorned.
Wine flowed, from glasses into throats and down faces onto chins.
Exposed skin was seen to redden and shine with February sweat
whilst other body parts, those kept checked and veiled by clothing
pressed and rudely jiggled to be allowed amongst the fray.
Made obvious by their difference
those members of the Scandinavian party seen at all
were dressed without exception in the gray and black of mourning
their pale thin fingers delicately clasping iced spring water
Between these two tribes the young couple to be married moved
smiling and amazed at the sights to be seen
and as the evening progressed, while toasts were drunk
I stood in the pantry behind caterers catering
and saw a new-born kitten kiss the groom’s banished mastiff.
I was wondering how America had made it so far.