Love Poem for Pearl Street on the Day of a Bomb Threat

I saw a man made of gold on Pearl Street. He stood like a statue. He was a statue. A golden cowboy hat crowned his golden head. Golden sleeves covered his golden arms, still as oak branches. If he breathed at all (he didn’t) he’d breathe gold. The wet whites of his eyes were the only indication that beneath his stern form there was blood, and a stomach churning the carnage of food, and there were memories, which I was not afforded the luxury to access because I found that if spoke to him—hello!—he did not speak to me. He was not in a moment of ease, but in a moment of tension turned into an art. I could feel the booms of my heart shorten, distancing themselves from one another as I gazed, empty-handed, into the statue that stood before me. Then there was pause.

The bikes and the people who rode them by us as still as a bowl of fruit. The accordion player across the brick court also still as so. Clouds that once rolled by like white whales just as still. The man who was a statue just as still as he ever was. In the tension, there was pain, but there was no new pain. The pain caught up with itself. In silent, unseen, unheard pixels I could sense it evaporated like drops of water in a hot pan. Then there was a silence like a vigil, not for the past, but for the future we didn’t know how to access.

When the world began again, the bike tires turned as they had before, filled with all of their air like best intentions. I witnessed the golden man step down from his statue podium and I slowly stood there in his place. my arms as still as oak branches. Not moving. Trying to let the pain catch up with itself.


day #8 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: Katie Harp