New Year

One more year alive.
Exploding fireworks precisely timed.
At the corner of the avenue young men slap five.
Discrete are the rhythms of waltzes
and rap/funky on the side of strong arm
around slender waist. Big skirts, big hair

big to-do as plastic champagne glasses bounce.
We are flourishing in the New World.

In slavery time Marilyn tells me they locked up the churches
until the rooster crowed morning and all the prayers
had been made. People on their knees know how to get up.

Praying for the one chance to rip out across the American Paradise
seeking a charged star pointing away from here.

A century or so later in Brooklyn, church folk honor
that motion north. Constellations, footprints. Those tufts of fur
caught in branches of trees, rhythms altered for the shuffle,
the crawl, the dash across thresholds:

field hand or free woman; concubine or son of liberty.

Time at the border waiting at the railway station.
Church as safe house, way station. Sanctuary.
Time at the corner. Time on the skin slapping five.

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