THE CROSS-TOWN
by Eileen Valentino Flaxman    

The Cross-Town
makes its way in fits and starts, day
in and day out, from the east side to
the west and the doors hiss and the
brakes screech and people get on and
off, one corner after another, until
it’s time to turn back around, and this

is where he queues up, same time
each day, only this day the wind’s icy
intention threatens to steal his hat
and he feels a warm blast as he boards
but soon it suffocates, and off comes
his hat as he looks overhead and reads

the same ads he read yesterday and
thinks like every day that he should buy
a copy of the Times because no one talks
or makes eye contact as mass transit once
again picks up the masses to deliver them
right back where they started. But this day

he catches his reflection in the window
and no longer recognizes the man who
once stood out in a crowd and would
change the world, and it occurs to him
this day that he is just like everyone
else around him, because his life is not

turning out the way he had planned.    
Sometimes there is a day
that goes unnoticed
slips through the fingers
for I have better things to do

than stop to catch the light
in my mother’s hair, or
watch her housedress sway
as she works in the kitchen,
its rhythm a kind of silent music

sometimes there is a day
that claims a place all its own
and lodges permanently
in the mind, a keepsake

to take out and hold
in the hand, turn over
and examine from all sides
how you looked at me
that last time

then there are days
I look past the face
in the mirror and
don’t meet the eyes

staring out of me
don’t recognize
who I am or what I want
as the crush of days
swirls and rushes past

but sometimes there is a day
that rises brilliant and clear
and stands alone and
I stand at its center

and that is enough  That Summer Night in Central Park
We wait in line for broiled chicken, stand
so close our shoulders touch, then make
our way to a spot on the grass near the
stage to spread our blanket. We can’t
keep our hands to ourselves for love is
new, we are new, and today is all about us.

We devour our meal and lick each other’s
fingers and drink chilled wine from plastic
cups. The sunlight dims on cue, floodlights
rise, and even Shakespeare seems new, his
comedy sharper, his love scenes our own
story told over and over.

Lust simmers but is patient, for the long
night stretches before us and belongs to us.
We see stories in one another’s eyes and
we are hungry to hear those stories and
tell those stories and we will sit face
to face and there will be joy in the telling.

This promise of later sits like a mint on
the tongue to be slowly savored. We lean
back and settle into each other’s arms,
content, as the backdrop of this evening
serenades us with music only
we can hear.  Ode to the Rain and Lots of It

Rain pours all night long and throughout
the day and pummels the roof,
splatters the windows, puddles the
walkways and makes me very happy.

Don’t I miss the sun, you ask? Not a whit.
Let it take a day off and well deserved.
Good excuse to stay inside and indulge.
Snacks and solitaire, novels or Netflix,

letters to answer or why not write one
to the editor and have my say. Raindrops
flicker on their way from the sky to
the striped awning, porch swing,

seedbed, sidewalk, doggie tongue, and
jet off car wheels that speed by with a
whoosh and a waterfall, or ricochet
off red rain coats and Kitty Cat umbrellas

that dot the landscape with the only
color in sight, like flowers that
uprooted themselves to take a
splishy-splashy walk in the rain.

Sunny skies are for extroverts. Soggy
days with overcast skies keep me safely
indoors, enjoying my own company,
which can be the best company there is.  

About the Author:
Eileen Valentino Flaxman loves the written word – in all of its forms. She wrote her first letter, when she was 7 years old, to the President of Metro Goldwyn Meyer, asking for more kid-friendly movies (he wrote her back). She has since had hundreds of letters to the editor published in a number of newspapers. She donates her time to tutor high school seniors with their college admission essays and her memoir — Pieces of Glass: Growing Up Catholic in the Fifties — can be foundon Amazon. Her first collection of poetry – I Have Something To Say About Love – was published in her youth and recently Eileen has written a poem for each of the 136 chapters of the classic novel, Moby-Dick.They can be seen on her website Call Me Ishmael’s Apprentice. https://evflax.wixsite.com/ishmaelsapprentice.   

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