We stood in the hallway of a friend’s apartment, kissing

as others came and went that Thanksgiving—
slipping off snow-covered boots to don a pair
of abaca slippers from the basket by the door
before entering: actors, musicians, the visiting
theatre director, all recently unhomed or not yet
but soon to be settled in this new world. Our host
was once like us: immigrant arriving with only
two pieces of luggage, reading the cab driver
the address scribbled on a piece of paper.
Slowly, the years made the landscape familiar:
even the constant muted grey with its scaffold
of suspension bridges; metallic trembling
as trains sped past the elevated platforms.
We heard buskers play their instruments—
the sound carried down labyrinthine steps,
into the transfer tunnels where fitul
light flickered and sometimes we saw
rats large as kittens cross the tracks.

~ after Remedios Varo, “Plant Architecture”, 1962

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