Along the Empire State's observation deck
Stand mercenary eyes, not the gun-blue ones
I had hoped to look out through as a child,
But telescopes that work for change.
At my age I can afford to waste my dimes —
Besides, it will soon be that rich beyond
Need of riches, having gone in time
From toothless to toothless: I am old
And must trade this climb to gain the plateau.
But the gusting bees of March up Fifth
Mean ides and anniversary,
Another year above earth and any minute now
It could be my birthday, so before I go,
I thought I'd celebrate somehow
The afternoon — its gold and icy light, the green
That's yet to come — with some altitude
And the view that's had from eighty-six
Floors above midtown traffic.
My pan across the gray-glinting river
Brings me to Queens where I was born.
(My time is running out. I buy some more.)
There's her first defiant tower glowing aqua
In the sun. And someone on the shore
Is waving at a tug. No, it can't be that,
With not a furrow to be seen — he's looking up
Towards me, a little blond-haired boy.
(This motor's whir sounds like a wind-up toy.)
The Manhattan skyline is its own parade
And though it feels like the kid's fixed me in his sights,
His gaze must be walking that width.
From this height, I can make out his freckled face,
The rascal-shy grin — I looked a lot like him.
(There must be a coin in one of these pockets.)
I had imagined him regarding this windowed peak
As a rocket ship bound for another planet
When the shutter gave me black despite my bit.