Two Poems

Hossannah Asuncion


New York City as Temporal Measurement*

* This is not to be confused with the smallest measurement of time.


Policy mandates a period of 30 seconds for subway doors to remain open to allow for the flush of entering and exiting people. An observational study has shown, though, that the doors remain open an average of 12 seconds. This is enough time for two people in love to separate, but as was one instance on May 18, 2007, it is not enough time to reunite.


You know you are close to the end when your train pulls into the station with droplets of rain clinging to its sides.


Ways we successfully pass time from Manhattan to Queens, Queens to Brooklyn, Brooklyn to Brooklyn:

     The NYT crossword puzzle (Wednesday).

     Cat Power's rendition of "Silver Stallion." (Repeat as necessary.)

     A game of "Who would you eat? Who would you fuck?"

     If, by chance, you have a moment to love something, anything, with heartbreak, choose
      to do so. Exercise, though, what is advised and advised and advised as caution—
     consider the consequences of such seconds.


Tapping the face of your father's watch will not stop you from disappointing him today. You will do so again tomorrow. And the day after.



"I want to pluck the chill from cold gardenias


and place it in your hair. I will be what you want of me—shadows of clock hands, the remaining drop in a coffee spoon. Anything, except cruel.

I will take from you the crystals you keep tucked under parts you think are dying. And I will take from me, the bone marrow that makes your lip quiver—piece together a city for you to live. We can drink wine there. Or I can hold the wine cupped in my hands and we can wait for light from the sky to cast a reflection of a better world. We can tell this world the stories we've given happy endings to, and spite those fears that make us ashamed of such a simple longing.

But you want my story first, before I take your picture.

They killed the fathers, and left us to climb the trees looking for what remained of them. We climbed high, then climbed higher. We hung from the branches, and to test the ghost of our fathers, we let go. Some of us lived. The others we harvested like felled avocados.

So, here, a shot of you, with my story in your eyes. This will hold me until you are ready."