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Jared Beloff

So This Is New York

So This Is New York

            after Ted Kooser’s “So This is Nebraska”

The cobblestones push uneven clusters
across each street, around orange cones
toppled and waiting, a crowd blows past
their skirts shooting sparks of color.

Apartments rise up on both sides
canyon walls of loose brick and pigeons
roosting by windows, dulled by the web
of morning noises, construction, a slick of rain.

So this is New York afterward:
Your hand, which once sliced the air
with mine, sits stuffed into your pocket.
A crowd waits for light at every crosswalk.

Joggers legs keep their slow piston pace
a dog looks up with question marks in his eyes,
his leash hanging a tethered U, a lolling tongue.
You settle back to read the distance from here

to the diners’ clanking spoons, turning cream
in their coffee. You feel this, swirl the ring around
your finger; you feel like turning, like letting the spoon
carry your buoyant body, like being no more

than a part of the day’s rush and jolt,
working to live up to the first sip; or holding
the small child as she watches everything
with her dark eyes, waiting.

You feel like smelling the crown of her head,
like stopping, closing your eyes to that moment.
You wave instead, then hold your hand in mine
two sparrows looping through the changing light.

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Jared Beloff is a teacher and poet who lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two daughters.  His debut poetry collection, Who Will Cradle Your Head, is forthcoming with ELJ Press in February 2023.  He is the editor of the Marvel inspired poetry anthology, Marvelous Verses.  You can find his work in Contrary Magazine, Barren Magazine, Rivermouth Review, The Shore and elsewhere. He is online at  and as @Read_Instead on Twitter

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