Still Water Prose Poems

Copyright @ 1989 by Arthur Garfunkel
ISBN 0-525-24795-5
Used by persmission of Author - All Rights Reserved

15

   Between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox the
sun only rises to forty degrees, at this latitude in New York. At
two pm, I throw a ten-foot shadow on the promenade above
the East River Drive. Manhattan Island, tilted slightly clock-
wise on the map, is bathed on its axis in harsh winter light. So
that looking south down the river…

   In architecture school, they taught us how to draw
perspectives: establish the horizon line and place on
it the vanishing point. (This is the point to which
all lines running parallel and exactly away from me
converge.) Thus Queens from the left, southbound traf-
fic on the right, Roosevelt Island, and in the gleam-
ing river—a southbound tug below me churns the sun-
lit foam as it ascends to vanish in the sea…

   An old man in charcoal gray crosses in front of my
vision. Why is his parallel askewed to the pecture?
Is it the Doppler effect of visual nearness?

New York CityFebruary 1984