Before the viewing galleries were encased
in bullet-proof glass from ceiling to floor
there was wire mesh – with interstices
big enough through which to aim a lens,
and for Manhattan’s airs to freely pass.
Wannabe jumpers were deterred and jokers
keen to fly a kite above Fifth Avenue.
Late one sunny October afternoon,
when the leaves had begun to turn, we saw,
as felons might in an exercise yard,
the islands – Roosevelt, Staten, Liberty,
Ellis, and Manhattan itself – reduced,
and the sun begin to set over Jersey,
Ohio, the imperial geometry
of the states, a sentient jigsaw –
and imagined, as prisoners might,
autumnal prairie grass in Kansas,
eagles above the snow-line in the Rockies,
neon-lit diners on Sunset Boulevard.
Elles IslandEmpire State Building New YorkJerseyKansasLibert IslandOhioRoosevelt IslandStaten IslandSunset BoulevardThe Rockies