One summer I couriered tests for NYU.
I’d rise at three, be on the street by four,
pick up the forms and get my car by five
then drive to sites I’d never expected
to see, like the farthest place in Queens
before you hit the Sound.
One Bowery morning, past John’s garage
and the men’s shelter and the shuttered
plumbing supply, a voice rose, hailing:
“Hey Miss—hey, hey,” and I turned, surprised….
“You working?” he asked, into my naïve
confusion. What was my answer? I can’t
remember, as any explanation would have
been the wrong one. Because it was work
searching the unfamiliar roads with no hint
in the dark of what I’d find at the end.
But that wasn’t the kind of work he
was looking for, so we parted
when I smiled and shook my head
and went along my working way
into the slowly breaking day.