A late snow beats With cold white fists upon the tenements - Hurriedly drawing blinds and shutters,
Like tall old slatterns Pulling aprons about their heads.
Lights slanting out of Mott Street Gibber out,
Or dribble through bar-room slits, Anonymous shapes Conniving behind shuttered panes Caper and disappear… Where the Bowery Is throbbing like a fistula Back of her ice-scabbed fronts.
Livid faces Glimmer in furtive doorways,
Or spill out of the black pockets of alleys, Smears of faces like muddied beads, Making a ghastly rosary
The night mumbles over
And the snow with its devilish and silken whisper… Patrolling arcs Blowing shrill blasts over the Bread Line Stalk them as they pass, Silent as though accouched of the darkness,
And the wind noses among them,
Like a skunk That roots about the heart…
And the Elevated slams upon the silence Like a ponderous door.
Then all is still again,
Save for the wind fumbling over
The emptily swaying faces -
The wind rummaging Like an old Jew…
Faces in glimmering rows…
(No sign of the abject life -
Not even a blasphemy…)
But the spindle legs keep time
To a limping rhythm,
And the shadows twitch upon the snow Convulsively -
As though death played With some ungainly dolls.
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