It’s a May afternoon as flat as a page,

As dry as a canvas before paint.

The fabric of the day is pencil-dry.

I’m off to the tailor down the street,

Taking a navy bridesmaid’s dress in.

Thinking, oh, there are birds.

Thinking oh, it’s a sky. It’s a tree.

There, a woman beating a heavy rug

Against an iron fence that

Protects, apparently, a garden of rocks:

How very New York.

I make up a back story:

This being Astoria,

This being a rug being beaten, she can’t be

Anything but Greek, or Polish perhaps.

She doesn’t know

About the scar on my chest.

In her cloud of dirt,

She waits for me to pass.

Later in the Ukrainian laundry,

I’m being pinned.

Guess who walks in?

“That’s a beautiful dress,” she says.

In the accent of Queens,

I learn her name.