Music by Marty Castleberg
New York Park
In the park on Forty-First and First a green metal pole stands sentry over a small square of concrete, its shadow marking time, ancient as sundial. Autumn sun, east; winter sun, low in sky. Spring, climbing. Across the parkway, East River slugs. Rushing waters are whoosh of traffic; whine of speed.
June. Sun strong from above. When the park custodian feels the heat bear down, he turns his metal key into a pipe fitting in his workroom. Voila! The pavement steams with the first hiss of water. Green metal pole comes alive with the spray that spews upwards, thrills neighborhood kids. The pole is their tropical waterfall, their private Niagra, their summer vacation. I watch the half-naked bodies, brown or pale, and the stretch of skin over ribs; skinny arms catching droplets, tongues.
I whisper a wish: May rivers of crystal water cascade over craggy granite, iridescent green, blue, kaleidoscopic in the summer sun. Float, in lakes where rock faces reflect off mirrored surfaces and voices echo to infinity. I want to take them on a trip, go somewhere either of us does not know.
Still, this pole. Fountain of joy. Standing alone on a cool September morning.