Broadway | 7th Avenue Local

I held the Bronx in my hand.
An old New York City
subway map,

I couldn’t bear
to toss it out.
My left thumb presses

against the black dot
marking Van Cortlandt Park
242nd Street. I hear

the announcement
“last stop” loud and clear
replaying in my head

over and over again. The map—
an afterimage imprinted
on my closed eyes.

That red line
of the #1 train
snaking its way

from the Battery
at the bottom of Manahattan
to that historic park

at the top of the Bronx.
A non sequitur
found on a page

within Henry Beetle Hough’s memoir
in a chapter about his years
at Columbia School of Journalism.

I was 21 and fearless
and hopelessly naive
when I moved there

as a post-college
urban working stiff.
A paltry publishing salary

and an office with a window
on the fourth floor
of the Flatiron Building.

I had no idea
what richness I possessed
as I held the Bronx in my hand.

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