Evan Smith Rakoff
Self-Portrait as Syracuse
Killing Delmore Schwartz
A frost has infiltrated your toes.
The snow by the bus stop is four feet high.
The bus comes once; its the wrong one.
You step between bus and curb,
water to your ankle.
The child in back urinates on himself,
the seat, his mothers arm.
She says "stop" not for the child to stop
but for passengers to hear she didnt
encourage letting go of his bladder.
Syracuse would have killed me if not for my dog
melting the dense snow.
It may still kill me. I dont know the number
years passed before Syracuse caught Delmore Schwartz
in Times Square. If he kept a dog Im uncertain.
Our landladies were unkindfull of apples and heavy cheese
On Genessee and Erie, the bikers and chore boys
didnt befriend him, offer fried dough and shank steak.
Birch trees stripped of barkrugged yellow crocusesflakes lilting their pretty,
Syracuse you mined graveyard.
Cover your face with a ski mask
small holes for eyes and a slit for mouth.
Salt eats through cars, repeatedly, cold heart for Delmore.
You have one good burrito place and a plant that makes air-conditioners.