New York New York
A second New York is being built
a little west of the old one.
Why another, no one asks,
just build it, and they do.
The city is still closed off
to all but the work crews
who claim it’s a perfect mirror image.
Truthfully, each man works on the replica
of the apartment building he lives in,
adding new touches,
like cologne dispensers, rock gardens,
and doorknobs marked for the grand hotels.
Improvements here and there, done secretly
and off the books. None of the supervisors
notice or mind. Everyone’s in a wonderful mood,
joking, taking walks through the still streets
that the single reporter allowed inside has described as
“unleavened with reminders of the old city’s complicated past,
but giving off some blue perfume from the early years on earth.”
The men grow to love the peaceful town.
It becomes more difficult to return home at night,
which sets the wives to worrying.
The yellow soups are cold,
the sunsets quick.
The men take long breaks on the fire escapes,
waving across the quiet spaces to other workers
meditating on their perches.
Until one day…
The sky fills with charred clouds.
Toolbelts rattle in the rising wind.
Something is wrong.
A foreman stands in the avenue
pointing binoculars at a massive gray mark
moving towards us in the eastern sky.
Several voices, What, What is it?
Pigeons, he yells through the wind.