V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





I'm standing at the corner
of Seventy-Second and York. 

My niece who is eight and already
beautiful holds my hand.  I warn
her again not to trust lights or cars
that fly by like summer.
She looks up and tells me not
to worry.  She knows.  But how
could she know I already worry
about the first guy who falls
in love with her.  The kind of guy
who promises her the world, when
he can't even deliver Brooklyn.
Or the first guy she falls for, the one
who at night wants to take the lights
from buildings along Park and tie
them into a bracelet around her wrist
then slides the brightest light
from a penthouse on to her finger.
Before I can lean over to tell her
that the sparkle will go out as soon
as the sun comes up, she
points to the walk sign and says
we can go.  Instead I remind her
to make sure the traffic light is red
and strong enough to stop
all the cars it should.  As we
cross a woman passes us
with a dog the color of smog.
My niece asks if I can get her
a puppy just like it.  She's not allowed
to have pets yet but I find myself
promising to buy her a dog
that's even bigger, smarter
and with extra fur,
if she wants. 

© by Kevin Pilkington


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