Magdalene’s Manhattan

Neo-punks with stretched-out skin
forget Columbia ballet dancers who vanish
behind lamp posts to slap hands with the Reggae bum
at the subway station where urine makes graffiti
worthwhile art and the steel-drum sound is the
thousandth language used in metro rush.
We’ve heard it all, so when the Korean
woman on Bleecker street selling Earl Jeans
with blackened tags from fifth-floor warehouses
whispers to me she’s Jesus, I don’t doubt her.
There is no savior in the city, but there are
Chanel sunglasses, five for forty, and red-skinned
Bibles, two for twelve. And the lights strung over Little Italy
drop shadows for dimebags in dark alleys through which
we walk with our hands over our skirts, shivering
with every subway-grate stiletto click until
we emerge to the whirl of Times Square and the smell
of tourist hot dogs and, charged by cell phone signals
singing off skyscrapers, blinded by
white limos and the lights of the opera house,
the city is sacred again.