If I could just reach out and pluck
the jewelry of lights, emerald and ruby,
atop the Empire State Building –
kiss your hand and place them on your finger...

But tonight they shiver white.
I know that we too are the city
waving a handkerchief in surrender –
we all give, uncle.

Ambulances hot up the West side –
flashes rising red like mercury in a thermometer,
EMT’s listening to playlists in someone’s chest,
searching Spotify for melodic signs of life.

Sphygmomanometer, hematocrit, xylophone,
osmosis, music of the spheres in syllables
strapped to a gurney, bang bang tangs
of the street’s tuning forks vibrating against our skulls.

In darkness, we watch the film-flam
towers of chocolate, their veneer of sweetness
crumbling under its own weight,
summer will come soon and melt us all down.

Sitting next to you
the rushing solar system of the Roomba
circles in our ears.
Tell me what “vacuum” means to you.

And yet let us marvel at my lack of a manbun,
and all our peculiar luck, all
that is still pregnant and topsy-turvy
in the thrift store of our lives.

For Shay’s Word Garden

12 thoughts on “Sphygmomanometer

  1. “strapped to a gurney, bang bang tangs
    of the street’s tuning forks vibrating against our skulls.”

    All of it, part and parcel — Parton Parcel Post? — absolutely a Q-bit of poetic brilliance. Been a long pause, Randall.

    Liked by 2 people

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