She’d gotten into the habit of going nights
to a secret ledge on the apartment house roof
on which she’d crawl until she was almost
over, out in the air above the city, the city

no longer itself,
its schoolyard blotted by the dark, but its bars,
drug stores, groceries, and luncheonettes
swirling with the melted ice creams
and spilled perfumes of colored lights,
the studded belts of avenues, the curves
of street lamps in the park the pearls
worn by a dusky sleeping princess, and the noise—comets
of horns and sirens, stray voices on comers thumped
into comic strips of rabbits fleeing wolves
with paws stuck luckily fast in pitch and howling, yowling,
yodeling at her (but harmless) from some radio or TV — oh,
the noise would weave a net to bounce against: no wonder
she’d lean from the edge and leap, yes, leap
straight into it, falling
through a bubble bath of air, her dress
blossoming around her while she hummed like the wind
with neon alphabets and traffic racing