The Street of Named Houses (135th Street, Harlem)

My Sun,
You smile at the granite of Milton,
Glare on the windows, dazzle the doors,
Dancing on this universe of five floors,
Shining your face around the place.
No matter what you have done,

My Wind,
The birds of Howard’s ledges don’t mind
That you preen with little wind the black crown
Of feathers, disturb the mild down
At the bead eyes, surprise the dark seeds
At the beak.  Young girls find,

My Rain,
What is silent and small with Lorraine –
That is the fine spray.  The hands,
Palm up, reach as divining wands;
To know your warm water, they bathe the wrists, arms,
And skirts.  Corinne cannot contain,

My Snow,
Her women.  At the doors and every window
They appear, and in all your cold they talk
And frost the glass;  they note the men that walk
Past, in and out.  They comb the white hair, wear
Flowers on a housecoat.  I know,

My Moon,
Now that sleep is coming soon;
Dreams are to touch all eyes.  Sweet Helen
Falls asleep again.
Light of your face, slow shadows
Singing on a wall, come to dance.  Soon, Soon,

My love.

Published in The New Yorker magazine, October 29 1966

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