The city cinches its peripheries,
doubles the edges of its charts like they’re loose change.
I scramble for memory of space—
hippocampus dialed in and dialed back—receding,
swallowing whole boroughs,
reducing whole moods to neighborhoods.
Two years ago, it narrowed to a single city block
in Park Slope—I learned the textures of its burgundy stoops,
traced the curves of its railings
and the crowns of its birches, settling
my sights on the corner brownstone.
In I went, organizing ice cream scoops and strainers,
memorizing the calico paint of its radiators,
the wisps of dust that bobbed in the air of its vents.
Since then, the city’s gotten even smaller,
its limits wide enough now
only for you—the oyster-shell sheen of your hair
fits barely, the jousting pathway of your laughter
as aimless and voracious
as a wolf in Manhattan
paces the bus lines that run
late into its morning and clear off its page.