Ghosts of Second Avenue

by Joanne Grumet

We courted in a world that is no more:
the Gem Spa where we went
for chocolate egg creams; Ratner’s Dairy Restaurant
where they served us onion rolls for bread;
the Second Avenue Deli

No more readings by the Beats,
Ginsburg gone, his howling;
no more Fugs protesting
the war in Vietnam,
the Fillmore East come and gone

Scotty’s studio apartment
on the tenth floor
overlooked St. Mark’s Churchyard

We slept on a mattress
on the floor,
in each other’s arms

I told him of the abortion I had
before we met

He said nothing
Was he already asleep?

Now he sleeps. He sleeps,
I’ll never know

Sitting in that churchyard,
among the spirits of long-gone Dutch

settlers, I hear his voice, “Enjoy.
Enjoy your happiness,” it says.