The Dead Remember Brooklyn

By D. Nurkse D. Nurkse
It is the great arguments
we are proud of, over a nibbled peach,
hair in the comb, a faulty lube job;
the reconciliations were always naked
in borrowed rooms, sometimes in Queens
or Staten Island, we touched each other
shyly—we reminded each other
of loneliness and funk and beautiful pigeons
with oil-slick necks, cooing bitterly—
but there we lost each other
in forgiveness; keeping score,
being wounded even in triumph,
walking home down leafy avenues
etched with the faint double line
of extinct trolleys, caressing
carved hearts under a sheen of sap
with a ragged nail, sleeping alone,
choosing the dream of betrayal,
entering by the wide door
and waking dead—there
we were superb. In Brooklyn
we held our own.

Source: Poetry (January 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2008
 D.  Nurkse


D. Nurkse is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including The Rules of Paradise (2001), The Fall (2003), and The Border Kingdom (2008). His parents escaped Nazi Europe during World War II—his Estonian father worked for the League of Nations in Vienna, his mother was an artist—and moved to New York. Nurkse’s family moved back to live in Europe for a number of years, returning to the United States around the time of the . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Relationships, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.