Saturday Poem

Ringing Doorbells

that night for Gene
McCarthy at the edge
of Little Italy
turned into
an olfactory
adventure: after

the mildew, after
the musts and fetors
of tomcat and cockroach,
barrooms’ beer-reek,
the hayfield whiff
of pot, hot air

of laundromats
a flux of borax
the entire effluvium
of the polluted
Hudson opened
like a hidden

fault line, and from
a cleft between the
backs of buildings
blossomed, out of
the dark, as
with hosannas,

the ageless,
pristine, down-
to-earth aromas
of tomorrow’s
bread from
Zito’s Bakery.

Amy Clampitt
from: Collected Poems
Alfred Knopf, 2003