My Body Holds New York

by Meghan Sterling

my body in the blushing dark. Why so shy,
why so glimmering, like lower Manhattan
in the absence of moon, the buildings crowding
28th street with their bronze glitter starlight,
the day and its pulsing nebula dissolving into
body heat, body sweat, the leather beneath
my legs as I pump the brake with a dusty foot.
Body, what are you holding. The dead the living
the street in my teeth like a fragment of olive pit,
the Makdous oil heavy on my tongue, boy on
the bike slamming into my right brake light, splintered
red like a vein burst, permanent record of his body
trembling with fear and shock and gratitude. Body,
when will you let it all go. When will you let moonlight
be moonlight, an arc to sweep the floor free of its definitions:
Dust. Feet. Body. Car. Boy. New York, which will still
be there, and you will still be somewhere else.


Meghan Sterling’s work has been published or is forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Rhino Poetry, Nelle, Colorado Review, Poetry South, and many others, and has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes. Her debut poetry collection, These Few Seeds (Terrapin Books), came out in 2021 and was a Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize in Poetry. Her chapbook, Self-Portrait with Ghosts of the Diaspora (Harbor Editions) her collection, Comfort the Mourners (Everybody Press) and her collection, View from a Borrowed Field, which won Lily Poetry Review’s Paul Nemser Book Prize, are forthcoming in 2023. Read her work at

Image: Gabe

Image description: Colorful city lights out of focus (Bokeh effect).