There was no languor, no drowsy trade winds,
or stoned-out stupor of lapping waves,
only news, the big board of crime,
corporate raiding, selling short and long.
It didn’t matter, I was no Ishmael.
I just hovered there in the thick of the material–
at the edge of a skyline of money,
rising in a glass box.
It was comic to think Bachelard believed elevators
had destroyed the heroism of stair-climbing.
In the rush of soaring metallic, past the whiff of four-martini lunches,
up gearless traction in transparency,
waves of cool air coming from the vents.
At the 85th in a sky lobby we stalled out and the sun
flooded the glass/the river/the cliffs
Jersey was just gouache and platinum coming apart–
a glistening smudge
and some nagging line from Roethke I’d been reading–
circulating the air:
“It will come again. Be Still. Wait.”
© Peter Balakian