Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The steam pipe's reassuring hiss, signaling heat and everything it means.

Today was cold, damn cold, fucking cold. On our way down Canal to the deli I drew stiff as a board against the Hudson gusts. Saw myself as a cartoon man, gloved hands outstretched. All you could do is pretend you weren't real.

I stopped at the liquor store on Lenox and 111th after work and a man said, Got a quarter? I'm short, and another said, Got a dime? I fished around the bottom of my bag as the earth ground to a creaking halt upon its axis. Finally I found them quarters and they were gracious as they bought their nippers.

The news is pictures of men and women palsied by grief, bent and twisted as loved ones are laid to rest behind them or cast unknowably deep and far into the sea. Now one listens to the tamped earth of a fresh grave, arms splayed out and palms up.

The wave rolling at five hundred miles an hour across the Indian Ocean. O you blameless wave.