Vanishing Points

Just a block away, a pebbled 
beach the color of stale bread
and broken oyster shells,
where students come to smoke 
or drink beer. People walk 
their dogs there, push
children in strollers. At the corner,
sometimes the retired professor
comes out of his house to divide
the woodbine from the wild-
flowers or trim the grass. Turning 
into 49th from the boulevard, 
you can see ships make 
their crossing. One of the art 
history teachers in the college says, 
if you speed up you get a little 
lesson in perspective: the Lego bricks 
they seem to be carrying are containers 
marked Maersk or Hapag-Lloyd.  
There's active commerce in the world
again, though not far from here, a street
named Quarantine reminds us
of other deadly periods of pandemic.
People are eating again in restaurants,
coming back from Iceland or 
Greece. Once, we dreamed of walking
that road of pilgrimage going through
cities like San Sebastian and Bilbao.
The world is so close sometimes.
But we've come to understand
the quiet in the yard, even on the hottest 
days of summer. The stones shimmer,
each giving off their own mirage.

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