Wednesday Poem

An Age of Miracles

He walked to the window

stared down twenty stories to the street

gaseous and dizzy as a swamp

not visible at this height

but there had been a street down there

and he knew

It came with the apartment

and the guarded foyers and halls

and the doorman


beneath the uniform

the television split-screening

front and rear entrances

He knew it was all there

and he was here twenty stories above

the unsetteled swamp-mist

he knew the trucks bound for the bridge

were still passing near

he could feel them rumbling

in the soles of his feet

so he knew

the floor he walked on

was someone's ceiling

and it was all normal tonight

and countable

a two-year lease because

a desirable

with full view of


a five-by-three balcony through the door is

$200 deposit

fully carpeted

self-defrosting refriger-

the balcony door is stuck but

He can stare twenty stories down

from the windowsill

watching the swamp smokes curl and thin

and the swamp lapping at the base

and the unpaid-for miracle

one inch at a time

by Joyce Carol Oates
from The Fabulous Beasts