by Rowan Ricardo Phillips | October 9, 2006

Tonight it coaxed music from a Harlem cloudbank. It freestyled
a smoke from a stranger's coat; stole thinned gin.
It was on the surfaces of its beginnings, but outside
looking in. The lapse-blue facade of Harlem Hospital is weatherstill
like a starlit lake in the middle of Lenox Avenue.
I touched the tattoed surfaces of my birthplace tonight—
and because tonight is curing, the beginning let me through;
and everywhere was blurring halogen. Love the place that welcomed you.

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This poem originally ran in the October 9, 2006, issue of the magazine.


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