March 19, 2003
The taste of freezing rain in Brooklyn
is unlike the taste of ash or snow
—metallic, with a hollow ping.
Soon, the bus lurches up along the curb
to take me back to my apartment.
I try to smell jasmine and figs.
Sharp drops sting and pelt,
in the vicious whistle
of the wind. Salome danced
one night in Jerusalem. Herod
offered half his kingdom.
I can’t forget the crow
perched on an icy rim
rooting for good trash, can’t forget
this is the night of B-1, B-52,
hospitals smashed. Bed sheets
in the rubble of equipment shards,
bandages, vaccines. Looted
artifacts: carvings, stone tablets,
the world’s first scrawling.
Each piece of fabric peeled back—
I want to see the enchantment
of her teenage skin, tensile nipple.
Later, dry hair, hot tea,
a candle and radio reports.
One man in the desert says
the blue-green explosions
have a beauty. Strip-teased,
cock-hard he gave her what she
danced for: along with olives,
almonds and dates, the severed head
on a polished plate.