You and I, my baby, living in a time when time was so real it cast a shadow,
Lying late in a morning that seeped into the room around the windowblinds.
Like a pair of documents we read ourselves and each other, lying so still,
Not touching, not needing, like the radiator to the air we exchanged our warmth.
Everything was verbs for us, living, doing, eating, sleeping, climbing up the
Steps that moved us on the sunny stoop of that Brooklyn building.

Sometimes I would cross the street and just look at it, wondering
How bricks and glass-those bricks and glass-could be so different,
So shiny as a brand new penny in a handful of worn-out change.
Why the people passing never gave a glance….
Each day was Christmas then, Halloween, Fourth of July and we
Were queen and king of our own palace, yes, that Brooklyn building.

Where is that shirt, my darling, the one I gave you for your birthday and you said
You'd wear it 'til it wore out from both sides? And I outgrew my wedding dress.
The closets got too small and got too few and then it happened to the bedrooms.
The moving van stood at the stoop before I saw it coming, and three big guys
Collected all the pieces of my heart that could be found and labeled them
For transport on a rainy Sunday from that Brooklyn building.

I have a picture in my wallet in between the kids' and yours. It's like a license:
There's no need to stare at it, but it's good to know it's there. But sometimes
When the sun shines just so on the windowsill, I find myself seeing
That radiator that hissed all night and gave us all the heat we never needed.
I don't concern myself with urban planning, and I don't fear the wrecking balls.
I've built it in my heart, that Brooklyn building.

Brownstone by Judy Schilling

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