Serena Solin

Terra Firma

I dream again of a new world
when the weather tempts, when it’s tense
and wet like this. Goodwill for the biker, the squirrel
on the wire, those funneling home and work-ward,
the grackles and their beloved satellite dish. A narcotic sheen
lifts. Water caught under the bedrock bubbles, shimmies, 
and recedes, and the streets begin to open up. 
 
            * 
 
The potential city is as friendly a place as the first night
in a college dormitory. My neighbor Alex—later Alexander— 
introduces himself and quickly we fall in.
I learn that he hails from a small town in Michigan
where his high school offered daycare for teenage parents.
He loves and admires his older brother, an architect.
By chance his room is the smallest in our suite—two adults
do not fit in it—whereas I have the desirable corner.
I have been lucky in my life. Our conversation continues
in the common room, in the elevator, on the low stone
curb of the quad. We notice police officers scrumming
around our building, but because it is our first night 
we do not immediately realize that something is wrong.
There are whispers of a jumper. Not from our residence
but from the one diagonally across the quad, which faces
to an ordinary city street; impenetrable brownstone walls;
no sunlight in daytime but a powerful wind in winter;
a zephyr beating its cage bars. Because it is August
we do not know this street to be wild yet, but we will.
It ends at the shabby hospital and the magnificent
unfinished cathedral. 
 
The next week they install stoppers on all our windows. 
I blow smoke through the small gap I am allowed.


Serena Solin is a writer from New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in Fence, tammyThe Atlas ReviewFoundry, and is forthcoming in The Portland Review's upcoming folio on ecological disaster.