Union Square, the southwest corner where you can just
make out the digital doomsday clock, just above
the statue of Gandhi that I had always assumed
was an old banking magnate with a decorative cane.
I walked through earlier tonight, heading towards
the intersection where we argued over an uncertain future—
whether to re-caffeinate at the Starbucks down the block
or just call it a night and slink back to the vacuous
roads between larger stretches of Long Island highway.
Then I drew closer to a cluster of people behind Mahatma,
a neon glow jutting out from them and framing him
in a halo—a beacon of serenity in an urban network
of anthills, that ten-inch wide zen garden you described
as the one he inhabits between the sidewalks, a perfect spot
for exhaling the sponge-yellow dust of traffic.
I listened to the EDM distortion on a battered stereo hidden
somewhere between the legs of everyone and continued
toward Bleecker—that Bollywood-themed counter-serve
with brain-searing Indian food that, in the moment of this
crowd’s multi-colored blaze, was going to be eaten in your honor.
And I looked back to watch the neon loom high above the streets—
those glowsticks children flail aggressively in friends’ faces
and puncture the elixir out of at bowling-alley bar mitzvahs
and pop-drenched block parties, hurling over the freshest
horde of subwayfarers with a ballistic whir and for a moment
flash-bulbing the dark-chocolate enamel of Gandhi’s face.