Spring 2000 • Vol. XXII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2000 |

Carnegie Hill Birdlore

Today a robin hopped between stalled cars, picked bright excelsior from a trucks cargo, flew it to a ledge, then dived for more. Odd bird: with Central Park's gardens so near, why not beak lamb's-ear or hydrangea twigs? Our idols vary. The white unicorn that shines, hunted and slain, in tapestries, assured the queen who prized it of the regal death, hers of the heart. Now, inside towers sequined with lights are more lights, gleaming icons: a gilded wooden saint; an ebony Shiva, halogen-dappled vine leaves, stones pale under garden lanterns, that may tell us, weary, on dim streets, of how we may wake infused with light like bits of amber glass that gleam with opals in an altar mosaic. Downtown, in my brick aerie, the late sun stripes bare walls yellow, scarlet, and brown; Bach on CDs, my love and I look down from scant but lustrous rooms, our residence.

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Grace Schulman’s seventh collection of poems, Without a Claim, was published in September 2013 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Mariner Booka). She is Distinguished Professor, Baruch College, CUNY.

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