This is the cripple’s hour on Seventh Avenue
when they emerge, the two o’clock night-walkers,
the cane, the crutch, and the black suit.
Oblique early mirages send the eyes:
night dramatized in puddles, the animal glare
that makes indignity, makes the brute.
Not enough effort in the sky for morning.
No color, pantomime of blackness, landscape
where the third layer black is always phantom
Here comes the fat man, the attractive dog-chested
legless—and the wounded infirm king
with nobody to use him as a saint.
Now they parade in the dark, the cripples’ hour
to the drugstore, the bar, the newspaper-stand,
past kissing shadows on a window-shade to
colors of alcohol, reflectors, light.
Wishing for trial to prove their innocence
with one straight simple look:
the look to set this avenue in its colors—
two o’clock on a black street instead of
wounds, mysteries, fables, kings
in a kingdom of cripples.
Muriel Rukeyser's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (Seventh Avenue by Muriel Rukeyser )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864)
(October 13th 1990)
(13-7-31 (see reverse))
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1320 – 1392)
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