Early Morning at the West Side Y

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For Glenn Raucher

My God! The man with long white hair

waiting for an elevator on the thirteenth floor

is Edgar Winter, blear-eyed from a night

spent raising the roof at the Fillmore East.

Maybe we’re seeing things, maybe we’re

still high on the Sixties. But no, it really

is him, Edgar Winter in the flesh. There

are calluses on his fingers, his pupils

are musical notes. We follow him

down to the small café off the lobby,

stand behind him in the buffet line,

and take the small square black table

adjacent to his, an intermittent cool

breeze blowing in through the window.

For a half hour we sip our coffee,

nibble on muffins, and out of the corners

of our eyes watch The Legend sip his,

simultaneously skimming through the Times.

They don’t believe in superstition here,

we remind ourselves, picturing him standing

before the window on the thirteenth floor,

Central Park below him, and beyond

Manhattan’s skyline, spectral and beautiful.

Superstition is as dead as the architect

of this old building and there is no such

thing as ghosts and this is Edgar Winter,

but when he pushes his long white hair

back, deposits his paper coffee cup

in a trash receptacle, and shuffles out

 

and disappears among the excruciatingly

New York faces floating down 63rd Street,

we are dismayed. Superstition is dead,

but everywhere we look there are ghosts.


Photo by Craig O’neal

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About Author

George Drew is the author of The View from Jackass Hill, 2010 winner of the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, Texas Review Press, which also published Down & Dirty (2015), and his New & Selected, Pastoral Habits, in 2016. His eighth collection, Fancy’s Orphan, is due out in 2017, from Tiger Bark Press. He is the winner of the 2014 St. Petersburg Review poetry contest, the 2016 The New Guard’s Knightville Poetry Contest, and is First Runner Up for the 2017 Chautauqua Literary Journal’s Editors Choice Award, his poem forthcoming in this year’s issue.

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