A Selection from “A Month of Someday”

by Gerald Wagoner

When New York City initiated shelter-in-place, mid-March of 2020, to maintain my physical and mental health I continued my nightly walks. I would leave my Carroll Gardens home around 10 pm and walk to Brooklyn Heights, or to Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, or up to Prospect Park. The only other people out were the occasional dog walkers. The silence was palpable. I believed it was essential that I record the changes, so to establish my tone I took notes that were specifically sensory and observational. Each entry had a date, a time, and reference to the weather. I then groomed my notes into a series of 31 short poems. One for each day of April 2020 plus, in lieu of an epilog, a May1st poem. Although the poems are presented like diary entries, the poems are sequenced, unless the date or weather are essential, using my private poetic logic.

—4/24 10 pm 50º

Night: misty, drizzle.
It’s always sunset
on the River Styx.
No cars. Walk Wait
spills a block’s worth
of orange then white
over oil-black bluestone.
I fear this is not yet
as empty as it gets.

—4/25 9:18 pm 42º Overcast
I’m one of those who loves
a wall; one of those who
loves a stone’s silence; loves
the idea of stone sentences;
each word a unit of exclusion;
this one has been scheming
to pinch a couple of grey
granite cobble stones
found next to the curb
alongside the grade school.
City property. Not in front
of someone’s building.
Detached from any retaining
or decorative purpose,
makes it fair game to justify
removing something
not my own, even if it is
a perfect fit to finish a thing
that will outlast me. Time is
getting away. It is raining.
I miss the flesh of friends.