s shot with steel-blue lights,
But no breath stirs the heat
Leaning its ponderous bulk upon the Ghetto
And most on Hester street...
Nosing in the body's overflow,
Like a beast pressing its great steaming belly close,
Covering all avenues of air...
The heat in Hester street,
Heaped like a dray
With the garbage of the world.
Bodies dangle from the fire escapes
Or sprawl over the stoops...
Upturned faces glimmer pallidly--
Herring-yellow faces, spotted as with a mold,
And moist faces of girls
Like dank white lilies,
And infants' faces with open parched mouths that suck at the air
as at empty teats.
Young women pass in groups,
Converging to the forums and meeting halls,
Surging indomitable, slow
Through the gross underbrush of heat.
Their heads are uncovered to the stars,
And they call to the young men and to one another
With a free camaraderie.
Only their eyes are ancient and alone...