Superbly Situated

you politely ask me not to die and i promise not to   
right from the beginning—a relationship based on   
good sense and thoughtfulness in little things

i would like to be loved for such simple attainments   
as breathing regularly and not falling down too often   
or because my eyes are brown or my father left-handed

and to be on the safe side i wouldn’t mind if somehow
i became entangled in your perception of admirable objects   
so you might say to yourself: i have recently noticed

how superbly situated the empire state building is
how it looms up suddenly behind cemeteries and rivers   
so far away you could touch it—therefore i love you

part of me fears that some moron is already plotting   
to tear down the empire state building and replace it   
with a block of staten island mother/daughter houses

just as part of me fears that if you love me for my cleanliness   
i will grow filthy if you admire my elegant clothes   
i’ll start wearing shirts with sailboats on them

but i have decided to become a public beach an opera house   
a regularly scheduled flight—something that can’t help being   
in the right place at the right time—come take your seat

we’ll raise the curtain fill the house start the engines   
fly off into the sunrise, the spire of the empire state
the last sight on the horizon as the earth begins to curve

Robert Herson, “Superbly Situated” from How to Ride on the Woodlawn Express. Copyright © 1985 by Robert Hershon. Reprinted with the permission of Hanging Loose Press.
Source: How to Ride on the Woodlawn Express (Hanging Loose Press, 1985)