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NEW YORK TO PHILADELPHIA by Lynne Procope

Let’s say Philadelphia’s a city constructed entirely of door knobs,
one great opening, one endless turning into something new.
Your voice is on the phone, love, is a rocks glass overflown
with whiskey and burning. Your thumbs slip from keypad
to six string, your thumbs are the teeth of wild city cats.

 Well I’m not supposed to see you looking
 I’m not supposed to stare straight into your eyes…
– Lucero

Let’s say Philadelphia’s a city constructed entirely of door knobs,
one great opening, one endless turning into something new.
Your voice is on the phone, love, is a rocks glass overflown
with whiskey and burning. Your thumbs slip from keypad
to six string, your thumbs are the teeth of wild city cats.

I’m only ice. I’m inanimate without your mouth. I’m cracking.
Let’s say New York does me in. This city’s riddled
with pothole metaphor, with stay. These streets are slipping
in upon themselves. Everything is so hungry. My legs
stumble under all this – give in. There was a plain precision
to your hands, and each was a thousand and each owned
a fist of hunger.

I say there was a night we swallowed the city in cobbled slices
we took the city in, one sharp sheet of glass and scaffold at a time
and our drunk breathing and the frost on the sweet gum trees.
Your hands were a thousand and then they were only two.
I was a dozen women or just this one. I was a woman
you were missing. You were all night and all of a day even after
we pulled the city down, even after all the rest of you
was trembling, even after all the rest of you was gone.

 

 

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About Lynne Procope

Lynne Procope
Lynne Procope is a Cave Canem fellow and former National Poetry Slam champion. Her work is widely published in journals and literary magazines. She is co-author of the collaborative collection, Burning Down the House, an editor at Union Station Magazine, and executive director of the louderARTS Project.