The city purrs, it hums along, the morning hardly risen.
A well-dressed drunk smears her finger across a doorman’s lips and whispers.
Someone stumbles. Someone curses. Someone hoses down the pavement.
We must have made a mess of things again, all fuzzy black and white
and greenish at the corners. Some final thing
that put us in our places.
You’re still standing in your winter coat alongside
everything you wanted and deserve. But you were thinner. The desk clerk
looked right through you. The cabby didn’t listen. You were
out of sorts back then, you say, but
you’re still frowning!
In vain a shrieking siren repeats itself
and fades. The quiet idles there, a crosswalk signal chirping. You’re still
standing in your winter coat, but I don’t know you. Someone
scrambles down a fire escape, his shirt a flag
that’s shredded. A boy
salutes. And then his mother, too.
She stoops to smooth his collar. She makes a sculpture of her packages.
You’re a different person now, you say, but
you will never happen.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ralph Angel's poem It Takes a While to Disappear

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