The Answer

As I stood gazing up the Empire State
I watched a paper sailing down the air.
Falling easy, to left and right it went,
Not hurrying, but patiently it flew,
From little thing to bigger growing slow,
And down and down the spring-like wing did come,
To land so soft and tender on the street.
Between the cars I ran—for it was fresh—
And picked it up—to read unhappy words.
“Tonight I’ll jump, for there is none for me,
No love, no life, no beauty of my own.”
Up, elevator—Oh, it goes too slow!
Up, go faster! Still, there may be time!
Now out, to another! To the top!
Who is here? Tourists only? Yes? No?
There! She stands in ragged dress all alone;
Her hair is ragged, too. I walk up close.
“Hello.” She turns, she is not very pretty;
Her jaw’s a little crooked, odd-shaped ears.
A frown is over her dark eyes, thick brows,
Which strikes and thrills me with its sovereign sense.
And I knew all at once this was the one.
“You are a writer,” I said, not knowing why.
Then, remembering those out-leap words,
I handed her her paper and spoke again.
“You write wonderfully. I’ve memorized
The whole, perfectly rhythmical sentence.”
Her hard, dark eyes softened just a bit;
An almost smile began to touch her lips;
Then, she crunched the paper in her hands
Into a little ball and tuned and threw.
Turning back, she said, almost harshly,
“Not bad, but certainly not my best.
Do you really want to read a bit more?”
“Sure, otherwise, what is good writing for?”
She smiled, radiantly then, and we,
We flew down through the Empire State with speed!
Oh, great city! Answering our great need!

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