Oh, New York and Who We Were There


E spent a weekend in New York, learning the story of how her family came to America via Brooklyn. This poem centers on her lived experiences of New York—as a place and entity— capturing also the tensions between Brooklyn of yesterday and today.  

Behold, Brooklyn:

I see all of your promise.

your children still gathered here as before,

waiting for the Messiah on train platforms,

never wincing at the cold.


there you are,

a cool luminosity on the horizon,

steely as the Hudson,

belonging to no one and to everyone

as all things should be.


there is dangerous sway and persuasion between us

the elegance of it at once a wound

and a relief of all wounds.


really, by the end of it,

I only ever learn what New York means when I am leaving,


And oh, who we were there.