Allyson Paty




Having woken from the dream of riding on a flat tire


Having carried the scrape and-a-one-two, scrape and-a, scrape scrape onto the train


Having surfaced in a heart of commerce, closed


Having taxed the muscles in a pack of women


Having paid to


Having creamed our faces in a crowded mirror


Having walked a mall-like stretch of a famous avenue


Having passed two men caked in dust, one


Having aimed a miniature leaf blower at his chest


Having turned it on his companion, who


Having swept his arms dramatically


Having pushed the tool gently away, both men


Having laughed, somewhat cleaner


Having caught my reflection in the windowed façade of a bank


Having admired the ranunculus in a garden box of a white-brick building one block long


Having held a low opinion of this architectural style, but that vision of modernity


Having become passé


Having come to a kind of charm in it


Having blushed at nostalgia’s dim revision


Having turned left at the park


Having been too early for students, their habitual swarm


Having drawn the emptiness across honeycomb pavement into suspense


Having been the site of a parade ground, a public grave, and farmland


Having, in a time of resistance, formed a border between New Amsterdam to the south and the Lenape to the North, the plots


Having been parceled out by the Dutch West India company to eleven men


Having been enslaved by the charter


Having petitioned for freedom and


Having attained a conditional version, the terms of which


Having not extended to any children living or future


Having required annual payments of grain and livestock and occasional service


Having included a lot on this acreage, which grew over centuries into an enclave of freemen despite


Having under British rule been stripped of their deeds to the land


Having been cleared from forest, a stream rich in trout


Having coursed and—polluted, used as a sewer, and finally buried—possibly coursing


Having nodded good morning to a woman’s request for a dollar like I don’t understand the ask


Having pulled the heavy institutional door


Having flashed ID to George


Having read yesterday’s memo


Having ridden the elevator to eight


Having forgotten already—one man’s shirt was neon orange, but was the leaf blower’s matching or green?


Having gone to the desk and turned on the Dell


Having eaten a yogurt purchased on the famous avenue for $1.79


Having gone to the kitchen to recycle the cup, despite


Having seen the bins emptied into a common dumpster


Having nodded to the assorted labors, human and bovine, past and to come


Having said internally bon voyage


Having read that plastics remain 450 to 1000 years intact


Having greeted a coworker Good morning, Good morning


Having typed 1569 into the browser’s search bar


Having wanted 450 years to feel real or specific


Having read Wikipedia’s list of deaths in that year, Pieter Bruegel the Elder


Having been among the names


Having turned to the tasks that constitute my employment, e.g.


Having volleyed a quantity of emails


Having projected into that near-future space where I hope this finds you well


Having chanted internally from Alice Notley, All day you have to in the lough


Having read the line on the morning train


Having said it alternately law and loff


Having consulted circa 1:00 p.m.


Having thought, But in a lake, I never feel that I “have to”


Having retrieved lunch from the fridge


Having emptied the container onto a plate


Having spoken with coworkers: media, food


Having listened partly while replaying internally the dust exchange


Having cast both shirts as orange


Having recalled in your orange shirt you look like / a better happier St. Sebastian despite


Having pictured that shirt not florescent like the tulips O’Hara goes on to mention but something more like sherbet, the men this morning


Having cleaned via pantomime of cleaning


Having slid tenderness inside a macho exchange


Having rendered the image of a rough touch via a light one


Having returned to my desk


Having typed wedding dance into the browser


Having encountered a field of photographs showing formally dressed white people on lustrous floors

Having realized my mistake


Having added bruegel


Having seen this painting at the DIA


Having been in town for a wedding


Having gravitated to the reds, the reveling peasants


Having been painted happy and plump, Antwerp


Having operated refineries for the quantities of sugarcane imported from the Americas, the city


Having become rich, Flemish merchants presumably


Having wanted to admire a cheerful image of their commoner countrymen, their carousing


Having been read as a celebration of local customs at a time of Spanish rule but


Having also been read as a moral statement against the underclasses, Flanders


Having been in the throes of the Reformation, on the brink of the Eighty Years’ War


Having typed an associative list:

Having rendered foremost a picture of an education, the present


Having ground a myopic lens


Having looked through or only at it


Having glanced to the corner of the screen: 1:37better get back, but


Having typed into the search bar 1019


Having recognized only names: Song Dynasty, Kyūshū, Manchuria, Kiev, its Wikipedia entry


Having been less than half the length than 1569’s—gross distance or the contributors’ skew toward a Europe (then “dark”)?


Having tried too the Met’s digital collection

Having saved a screenshot: Glaze Clump, 11th–12th century, no image available, not on view


Having felt a personal affinity


Having scrolled chronologically, the object dated closest to 1019, a single gold dinar (A.H. 419, A.D. 1028, made in Iran (modern Afghanistan), bequest of Joseph H. Durkee, New York, 1898), the coin


Having one smoothed and slightly cracked edge, the details


Having been effaced, perhaps


Having sat unevenly under heat or weight or water


Having felt the air in the office suddenly thick, the skies


Having opened, I was certain, despite


Having been nowhere near a window


Having thought the rage of the gods despite


Having not once considered divine emotion as


Having shaped the observable world


Having inherited instead a humanism in which there are natural forces and people who act and


Having felt that worldview scrape and-a scrape, metal rims


Having bent against road




Allyson Paty is the author of several chapbooks, most recently Five O’clock on the Shore (above/ground press, 2019). She is co-founding editor of Singing Saw Press, Associate Director of NYU Gallatin’s Writing Program, and a teacher in NYU’s Prison Education Program. Her poems appear in publications including BOMB, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Tin House, among others and are forthcoming in The Yale Review.