by Jerry Ratch


A young woman in shorts removes her sunglasses, putting them on the top of her head in order to study a little girl sitting on her father's lap on the bus. “I want to get me one of those,” she's says, smiling. Dark eyes, her dark hair wet and hanging, fresh from a swim somewhere on the West Side.

The bus is heading uptown, past a man sleeping on a stack of tires in Hell's Kitchen on 10th Ave.

She has dreams about you, sitting with her under the trees on warm nights in the little park across from the Magnolia Bakery, with the long line out front, eating banana/vanilla-wafer pudding. One of her favorite things, that and kissing you in her dreams. And how much you love it when she says that. Or if she asks: When are you going to write me a love poem?

Maybe her eyes are crossed when you make love, as they focus on the inside of the universe. She has a dream where she's eating a fat purple fig as big as a watermelon, holding it in both hands, putting her whole face into it, and maybe she comes up for air, saying that it means: Abundance. Her eyes shining, huge with excitement.

Now a man bows his head and crosses his chest before crossing the street, and the rain keeps falling on his bare blue shirt and on top of his bare head, and the taxis will not stop.

The light still red as the man waits for the sign of the hands, and the rain keeps falling on top of his head, while a woman sitting inside a café arches her back, thrusting out her chest for all the men to see. She reaches up and places her palms at both sides, underneath, for she is pleased with them, and the men admire what God has provided.

Then the illuminated hands say go forth, and the light says: WALK. And the taxis wait for all to pass, and everything begins moving forward again, from this world to the next.