It’s dark on the roof of the apartment,
flat, hot tar, I do like that smell, sticky underfoot,
the flutter of pigeons in the coops across,
white light triangles, boat sails there on the Hudson,
cruising steady, big hammocks of linen and hemp,
billow in warm winds, a steady stream of cars,
into Manhattan, uptown and out, along the Westside Highway,
an ice cream truck plays a ditty on Calliope, a jack in the box,
wound up and cranked, plays over again, on the street below,
I gaze out over the edge, watch the children run,
money from moms gripped tight in hand, for the treasure,
Tuesday night, somewhere in time, earth, Alphabet City,
a hundred degrees and rising.

Met game on in a room below, announcer shouting in Spanish,
sounds like a walk-off homer; old vinyl of Eddie Palmieri,
live from the University of Puerto Rico, spills into the alley,
sounds like a party, a lot of people, bottle caps hissing off carbonated drinks,
laughter, men and women raising voices in good times, late on a work night,
you can bet that five o’clock in the morning rolls around pretty quick,
when you’re still on the buzz after midnight.

Weatherman’s map is all orange and red, nothing but heat in the forecast,
hazy, wavy lines, of toasty, sweaty, smelly hot,
an occasional enduring, endearing, cool breeze
blows east and west from the island’s rivers,
invisible knotted wind-streams interlaced, blowing at the southern tip,
shreds kites to pieces that fly too close to the urban sirocco.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013