Written on the Floor of an Office on Madison Avenue

by Michael Mingo

This morning, as the window washers pulled
their platform into place and smeared the glass
with dripping soap, I read an article

about how satellites are leaving streaks
in photographs of distant stars, like cats
scratching an antique landscape out of boredom.

Even the country nights, the author warns,
will teem with noise. They’re lucky: they can see
the sky. My office offers me a view

of other people’s views, a vista packed
so thick with masonry and glass the sky
is a faint border now. Though I twist

my line of sight around corners, through gaps
where the streets surely run, I’ve yet to see
a single patch of heaven; even the sun

is only what’s reflected on the buildings,
a problem for geometers to solve.
Is there an answer? Amidst the space debris

and fragments of façades, I still detect
the shimmers of what was: a constellation
sewn in fluorescent lights, a swarm of rockets

all dancing to the music of the spheres.
It’s hardly consolation, but the view
is raw material. It must be finished.

 

Michael Mingo is a poet and medical editor from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He earned his MFA in poetry from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spillway, RHINO, Third Coast, and The McNeese Review, among other journals.

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