Nodding off while waiting in my Prius

on the parking roof of Staples, a ferocious wind

lifts the car like my gas-guzzling 442 when

I car-pooled cherubic toddlers with faces

like Dylan Thomas to Ms. Sunny’s Nursery School.

Wearing goggles and helmets we’d take off

with a chorus of blubbering lips, engines roaring

as we flew high in the sky before screeching

to a landing at the nursery school door.

Now alone, I skim along under mammatus clouds

like a catamaran running with the wind. Down below,

a red, white and blue flag flaps wildly, clinging to

a pole the way a mariner ties himself to a mast in

a tempest of a surging storm.

The biting wind devours signs, shearing letters

off pewter-bricked buildings. The “Parker Plaza”

I used to see from the GW bridge is now “arker Plaza,”

the bluish-black glass bank in Fort Lee has become

“ank Of New Jersey.”

I see a cluster of grackles inured to the howling wind.

They stick close to the ground, spritzing wings and sipping

from a puddle alongside my car while others hop around,

chirping away, fluttering finely streaked sepia feathers,

reflecting light like soap bubbles.

They agree to lay low until the wind dies down

before returning to the skies, like frustrated

passengers at Liberty Airport sprawled out on the floor

or huddled in coffee shops waiting for delayed flights

to resume.

Milton P. Ehrlich