In Manhattan One Evening with the Reverend Al Sharpton

Christmas, 2003 / No. 11

It’s a shoe-store city that smells of what

rivers leave behind.

There is a bit of sky left, and insistent,

distant water, a headache for days.

If I see another bridge from street level;

If I see one more desk from my car,

one more Coke in a bucket,

or suspicious package on the road.

The whole thing is a metal plate above a hole

and it bounces, it squeaks, but will not break.

I know, because I’m trying to break it

when you, Al Sharpton, come out of the restaurant,

all rings and entourage, all shortness

and you say, “Hey,” and I say, “Hey.”

You are Fly Fishing in the Catskills, a great

American novel about justice and revenge.

I want to smell your dinner; I want you to explain

your shoes. I am you, Reverend Al. I am you.