I Walk in Slow Motion Sunlight
by Nanette Rayman
I walked Madison and 42nd at 9:00
I walked Lexington and 42nd at 11:00
where conjunctivitis sunlight became a magnet
for my need to be the one thing
employers needed—I walked past magnificent
Grand Central Station, the snow a bouncing angora
eternal sweater. My one and only pair
of beautiful black boots their own magnet
for nascent splotches of salt stains.
I go on and on trying where other women
with jobs and Zara suits fill the tattered spaces
of this city that never sleeps, where I walk and walk
with all the hoodlums. On Avenue of the Americas I walk
near the banana stands and cheap dress shops, the snow’s
dissonance a blank etude across too many years.
It doesn’t stop, the desire to live, like ill sunlight, falling
through ticker tape news along 49th Street, falling
through spastic limbs, falling into construction’s blue
grating. Falling out of over-qualified typing tests.
They have become their own aspiration, those jealous women
with the power to hire, compelling my asphyxiation.
I can no longer think this pounding is worth it—I could die
now alone—even that yearning has no tempo to speak of.