on the page magazine
issue no. 12 summer/fall 2005
shared spaces


New York’s Pull

by Mary Hamrick

Subways seize her.
Crowded within its capsule

her thin body is trapped by this pirate.
Whisked along, the train nurtures;

it is as though she is seated within a woodwind,
a flute, with finger-like holes.

Flute blowing. Vibrating.
Grime hanging onto those windows

hangs like a dirty bandage.
Within tunnels,

the train, like the city, manipulates.
Rocking motions speak to her and say, “Stay.”


Sleeping on arms of strangers
she knows

she can never go home again.
Buried under the city streets,

wrapped in lambs’ loosely curled fur,
her body is swallowed up

with play and pleasure.
She can be found wearing cashmere sweaters and

biting the green of a salted apple
and sleeping in New York’s boroughs

under iron spikes.
With New York’s pulse coquettishly seductive,

she knows
she can never go home again.

Drunks’ hypnotic ranting
while guzzling booze, with awful bursts

and woozy strange customs,
deepen dark alleys. Sweet New York City

feeding on creatures behind double-door rooms
that are all mussed-up

with tempers
like broken windows

that explode against weathered concrete.
“Come into my parlor,” the billboards say,

and as she sits inside a cab
sunken and jerked around,

she says, “Mister, please know
I can never go home again.”

As though whittled out of wood,
the cabbie’s time-scarred face

lined with strong whiskey sinning
becomes uneasy as he smiles

and tells her, “Stay.”
“Then … go.”

Mary Hamrick’s poetry has appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat, Phoenix Press, and Red Hills Reader, among other publications.

return to top of page
archived poetry shared spaces home

home about OtP our staff guidelines events links OtP suggests
contact us copyright subscriptions