Florencia Varela


We’re in Brooklyn, thinking Manhattan.

Too far away for tonight,

to take the L or G or J across or beneath

the river would mean to ride

out the medium before

getting to the other side.

We’re in Brooklyn thinking Manhattan.

Too old this early,

and we carry ourselves

like night ramble and we suddenly

realize we’re in Brooklyn,

thinking rooftops—to get higher

would be to get somewhere.

The sun’s still out. We just had lunch,

carrying beer in paper bags

like they were shoes.

We’ve carried shoes before.

When walking across the bridge,

we often forgot the medium.

We’ve left Brooklyn, passing the river.

We must get closer, get higher.

To wear shoes is to get somewhere,

so we took off our shoes,

thinking, We’ve passed Brooklyn.

We carried ourselves

close to the ground, so as to be

lifted from underneath.

We’re in Brooklyn,

thinking heaven; to be lifted tonight

could carry us through

the blurred measure—everyone

in Brooklyn has ruined

for their own measure.

We’re in Brooklyn, we’re on rooftops.

The sun’s not out.

We drink the day’s beer and tell stories

about Brooklyn. This morning a woman

took my waist in her hands, and told me

she could fix it—the dress would be

ready on Saturday, her hands stronger

than I imagined. I tell you this

in Brooklyn, no longer Manhattan.

I have known wings before.