Text of the Poem

(Poetry for Students)

So the sky wounded you, jagged at the heart,
glass shard flying from liquor store window smashed.
They had warned you, blue
means danger. The kid runs off
zigzagging the crowd, clutching his prize of Scotch;     5
the liquor man yells. Those Grecian dreams
endure even New York. You think
you’re safe, humdrumming along
the sidewalk’s common, readable gray,
calmly digesting your hunk of daily bread,     10
with flesh enough on your bones to cast some shade,
but puddle flashes, car window glints,
a stranger casts you a glance from a previous life:
the sky! And there you stand
unclouded, un-named, as naked as     15
the chosen Aztec facing the last shebang—
(his last shebang; the globe keeps rolling along
slipslop in its tide of blood)—

So there you stand
holding your sky-stabbed heart in your hands     20
to offer—to whom?—
while the liquor man curses the daylights
out of the cop, and the crowd
clumps dully away.
And you: “What you lookin’ at?     25
Move on!” So you
move on and grateful, by God,
in the grit gray light of day.