When my life flashes before my eyes,
In that famed final moment of lucidity,
I am convinced that what I will see is not
My first kisses nor the birth of my firstborn,
But rather the hundreds of times I have given
Directions on the streets of New York
To wayward wandering fellow-travelers,
Who stand with their upsidedown maps
And their clueless, terror-stricken faces,
Suddenly staring at the holes in our reality,
At the flickering of the substantiality of space,
At the streetlights beckoning us uptown.
To get to the Public Library, one walks west
From Grand Central along Fifth Avenue,
To find the Carousel in the Park, one winds
Southeastwardly from Sheep Meadow,
And to find Brandy’s Piano Bar, one sings,
“On East Eighty-Fourth, between Second and Third!”
The sherpas have the mountaineering skills
But I have memorized the subway map.
The guides have strewn the land with signposts
But I possess the toy box prize secret decoder.
And when my mornings are labyrinths, my fear
Becomes my tool for unraveling spirit-in-action.