What do you see from the shore?
You don't see the sea.
Not really, you only see the river.
There's no one I'd know to taste the water
to see if it's briny like the sea
or fresh like a river.
I'd rather die
than drown in this river.
What did Columbus or Henry Hudson see
when he first sailed this route?
This river like the ocean that spits out sailors.
This river where you can catch a slow boat to China.
Other people come to look at my rocks here at low tide.
They look at my sea.
What do they see?
Whatever it is,
it's not the same as me.
North of Harborside
a stranger talked to me
of the fowl in view
three first-downs into the river.
He was from Washington, D.C.,
and he told me what kind of birds they were
so far away from us.
He said they had the same
kind of birds in the Chesapeake Bay.
I haven't seen him since.
And it's just as well, I suppose.
The seagulls watch me for bits and crusts
I might smuggle to the sea.
Quickly you'll learn
that feeding a seagull
is like petting a dog.
Now the seagulls have learned
to eat the bread
and leave the rock salt.
These birds, their ancestors
knew this place
when there was nothing
but trees as far as the eye can see.
Did Henry Hudson ever notice
that no two clouds are the same?
Or try to put a hat on his shadow?
- By Anthony Buccino
From ONE MORNING IN JERSEY CITY
Copyright © 2010 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved.