New York Love Poem – Daryl Sznyter

Traffic is the best part.
The horns wake me at 6 am
to keep me humble,
reminding me of my narrow
escape from being ordinary.
On my way to class
at the most expensive art school
in the city, a man with blood
on his shirt offers me coke
and I ask him if it is flour
and is it organic
and will it leaven my bread?
In Union Square, a man
with no arms or legs
moves a skateboard with his
hips and begs me to feed him.
I pretend not to notice
because he is only half a person,
but in reality, I am ashamed
that I work two jobs
and am about to be evicted.
A skeletal man has elephantitis
of the feet. He makes slippers
out of cardboard boxes
because like Cinderella,
no other shoes will fit.
A man with no face
tells me he is on his way
to the AA meeting on Perry
St. I wonder if he sees me as
a familiar face. I know the building.
I have friends there. Then I see
Jesus with mustard knotted
into his beard. He informs me
only hookers wear yoga pants.
I wonder if I should explain
that I live in the East Village.
On the subway, I think about
my roommate and how she
works overnights at the crustiest
diner in Inglewood. She braves
the two-hour commute home with a
plastic bag over her head to outcrazy
the real crazies. The crazier you want
to seem, the more bags you layer on. I
only acknowledge her genius as a vagrant
tries to steal my backpack. Maybe I’m
not that extraordinary after all.
Maybe my true home is in
the coal miner’s town I came from.

dsznyterDaryl Sznyter received her MFA in poetry from The New School. Previous and forthcoming publications include Best American Poetry blog, Bluestem Magazine, Eunoia Review and others. She currently resides in Dunmore, Pennsylvania.