The World
At Night

Matthew Rohrer
I went out one night with people from work
to an editor's apartment. I drank
a glass of poison. She served me poison
and everyone else was either immune
or politely refused. In the subway
I didn't know the meanings of any words
and my sweat stung me. People on the car
pushed me off at the next stop when I puked
in my hands. Without any meaning, time
accreted to things in funny shapes --- old,
asymmetrical hobbledehoys
tormented me, a stern but benevolent
lizard gave me counsel. My stomach contents
spilled around me. My mind was actually
seven or eight minds, all but one of them
composed of helicopters. The other one
was sad. Satellites could tell I was sad.
When another subway came I crawled on
and technically I passed into death, but
passed through and awoke at Coney Island
and saw black cowboys galloping on the beach.
Hungry, mentally defeated, I stared
at the World's Largest Rat --- for fifty cents.
Really it was only the same color
as a rat. "It's from the same family"
the barker explained. I felt vulnerable
illuminated by neon and fried light.
Everyone had to use one big toilet
and the sky was orange with satellites.
And satellites know everything.

--- From Broken Land
Poems of Brooklyn

Julia Spicher Kasdorf
Michael Tyrell, Editors
(New York University Press)
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