In Bryant Park, a woman walked past me—déjà vu—
her bare left foot a bruise as big as her right shoe,
traveled with slow, small steps measured by habit, round
the Starbucks stand and stepped towards my bench again.
This time I was ready for her—to imitate
her walk in a stumbling meter, interpret her pain.
She did not stumble. Her eyes threw me off—black dabs
in ovals whiter than the inside of an eggshell.
Her face was a patch. She did not make a sound.
She was neither Death nor Love and, like that mademoiselle
finishing her espresso, meant nothing to me too.
But when I stroke the bolt that locks the metal plate
to your shinbone, imagine how the sudden rain
blinds the bike, the thundering traffic blunts the stabs
of laughter tearing the night air on the Brooklyn Bridge
and how the last possible moment thrusts the yell,
“Watch out!”—she pedals, singing, on the hanging ridge
of my back, ringing and ringing her tiny bell.