Long ago, on the second story of my grandmother's house

in Bay Ridge, in Brooklyn, in New York,

my older brother, my younger sisters, and I fought over

who got to sleep on the grey slatted wooden porch.

There were thick concrete walls topped with conch shells

brought back from my grandmother's trips to Florida

and filled with red geraniums.

My brother would crank down the green and white striped awning

because he was taller then.

"To protect you from the evening dews and damps,"

was my grandmother's reasoning as she gave us cots and blankets.

They all fought for positioning, but I waited, knowing

none of them would ever want the corner, not covered by the awning,

away from the safety of her porch door that led to warmth and real beds.

In the corner, I could watch people, cars, mist rolling in, other house lights dimming,

but most of all the stars, over Bay Ridge, over Brooklyn,

over New York, never dreaming of life beyond the sound of

the fog horn, softened, but warning of danger, possible danger.