A Real New Yorker


They say you’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve cried in public.

I cried in an elevator.

You surprised me by showing up at work,
I surprised you by bursting into tears when you walked in.
On the ride to the ground floor we avoided eye contact,
because we felt something was about to change.

I cried in a cab.

With the last of my belongings in the trunk,
I watched what had been our apartment slip from view.
Spare keys and signed paperwork sat on the countertop
awaiting your arrival in the dark.

I cried on a bench.

I asked you to come to the park,
for a chance to finally yell at you.
But the anger fell away when I saw the pain in your eyes,
instead, we just held each other and wept.

I cried on the subway.

The sadness was contained
until a stranger touched my shoulder in sympathy,
saying “it’ll be alright.”
The dam burst, I felt so alone. Is this all a mistake?

I cried while walking.

A chance encounter at a local bar,
You looked so handsome and I was happy.
But one martini exposed the sadness underneath
and it was time to take the long trip home alone.

I cried on my bike.

One last goodbye before I left our city
You wore green for me, and I told you I was changing my name.
With two trills of my bell I was off,
wind stinging and tears streaming.


If we had stayed together,
I would still live in New York
but I wouldn’t belong there-
They say you’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve cried in public.

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