I like simple things

I like simple things
by Hanna Elson
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, after the fire,
walking among men, unaware of the lonely.
There is a crack, meters wide,
putting pause in the long wall

against the bay. We
sat there, a wide distance between us,
fishing for trout. Pauses

in the silence were short, satisfactory.
Our parents couldn’t take us seriously
when they tried. The buildings
across the bay housed uncountable lives,

an insane number of dimensions

all else in the world.
Midnight walked faster. Our bodies
felt stretched and tired at twenty-four.
We could count the times

we considered better living
on one hand. The way
our parents raised us: to

be frightened by worry, to
count the minutes in darkness
like they would add up to a

diagnosis—we learned to

run from structure
despite the inherent pull
of cycles, tides, the undertow.
We had a hard time believing

waves would bring us back again.
There is an untold story that the
crash of the foam under warm sun

is the favored path to freedom;
the generous ache of finding a home
different from the one

we were raised to make.
Starfish settle in the sand.
Devastating and beautiful.
Voices independent from

the collective blood-ties,
the traditions forced
inside of us. Brooklyn

was never ours. We had
the mountains farther north,
epic nights in drinking towns,
afternoons along riverbanks.

I never felt alone, watching you
cast out, the way I did 

with tall buildings behind you—
twenty-five stories up, those
lives we could have chosen
but thought better, then worse.

Up north, we still sit touching legs,
the pauses between talking

are revolutionary. There
are no walls between 
sides; nature is

mirrored in the living.

0 thoughts on “I like simple things

  1. Devestatingly beautiful. At first, the stanza breaks were disconcerting, but after a second read they become the lifeblood of this little piece of exquisite writing. This is good like a good batch of scrambled eggs in the morning when you weren’t expecting them. best line: “Brooklyn was never ours.”

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