Birdstrike, Earthquake, Fire on the Water
The Third Omen: Birdstrike
The night is calm and cloudless, and the hour,
very late. The setting: Teterboro
Airport in Jersey. Timothy McGower
has pulled his new G6 out of a hanger.
(He has received approval from the Tower.)
He doesn’t want to be around tomorrow
and have to hide from his investors’ anger
when they discover their accounts are drained.
Six months ago he secretly obtained
his pilot’s license in anticipation
of this covert escape, and, look, the weather
could not be better.
could not be better. What’s his destination?
Cuba, which has no extradition treaty
with the United States. His teenaged sweetie
Krystal Dijon (the choicest of his blondes)
is waiting there already. A chamois leather
tote containing sheaves of bearer-bonds
totaling 15 billion, all together,
is safe (he checks) beside his pilot’s chair.
As Timothy accelerates toward take off,
he thinks, I’m really going to do it—make off
with all my clients’ money and be free
to party. All I had to do was dare.
(O Timothy, hubristic billionaire,
don’t be too hasty in your ecstasy:
there is an echelon of geese, revenge, in
the clear night air.)
the clear night air.) They strike the starboard engine
first, then the port, and he will certainly
be crashing. He can see, Oh God, Times Square
(Madame Tussauds, those giant TV screens),
then he can see what must be Bryant Park
(Gingkos and maples, various lamplit greens),
then everything goes permanently dark.
. . . . .
S1L7 was "and have to deal with his investors' anger"
S4L3 was "because there is a V of geese, revenge, in"
S5L2-3 were "and most assuredly
he will be crashing. He can see Times Square"
. . . . .
The Fourth Omen: Earthquake
At 6:13 pm a seismographic
scrawl of considerable amplitude
pronounces, Woe to Highbridge, Bronx! The chthonic
throes only escalate. Earth comes unglued.
Land breakers shattering the blacktop, traffic
from Harlem River Drive to the Taconic
honks, swerves and piles up ugly. The tectonic
convulsions spread out, echoing, downtown.
New York, your day of reckoning has come.
The epicenter, Yankee Stadium,
is dust. All fifty-six exclusive suites
have crumpled, and the most expensive seats
(the ones behind home plate) have tumbled down
into the dugouts. (Seems there was a curse.)
The waves themselves are bad enough but worse
what they deposit in their wake: the soil
pitching and lurching under ranks on ranks
of poles, the power lines rip loose and spark;
then the entire metropolis goes dark.
But what may prove the worst is: storage tanks
containing flammable transformer oil
rupture and flood the East and Hudson Rivers.
Con Ed, the corporation that delivers
the light of life to Lady Liberty
and everything, had better make a quick
recovery and skim that rainbow slick,
or else, or else. . .we’ll have to wait and see.
. . . . .
S1L8 was "convulsions echo on through Lowertown"
. . . . .
The Fifth Omen: Fire on the Water
Claire Custer, born and bred in Rocky Ridge,
Utah, has ridden her beglittered bike
through Chinatown and up the Brooklyn Bridge.
Once at the top, she lights a Lucky Strike
(A British friend has given her the pack.)
and leans her forearms on the iron railing.
Why is she blissful, why at peace, in spite
of shattered freeways and the power failing?
Because the vast night sky, at last, is back.
(It’s easy to forget how very black
the cosmos is when one is in the gaudy
excitement of Manhattan every night.)
She squints awhile, and scattered points of light
gather themselves, for her, into Orion,
the skewed head and interminable body
of Draco, either Bear, the Swan, the Lyre,
even the Dolphin and the Lesser Lion.
When her cigarette is almost done,
she drops the still-lit butt (a smidge of fire)
over the railing. Time to go to bed.
But holy. . . something raucous has begun
beneath her. There is rumbling on the water,
and orange there. An exhalation hotter
than any earthly breeze has scorched the air.
Just look at that! The liquid blaze has spread
so far already up and down the river.
Already flames have found the bars and stores
that line the South Street Seaport.
that line the South Street Seaport. Claire, O Claire,
you new Prometheus, you shy fire-giver,
why have you up and pedaled off instead
of staying to admire this work of yours?
Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 07-29-2019 at 03:40 PM.