Grand Central Station

by Christine Potter
The Waters
First Place, February 2022
Judged by Carol Graser

I was never afraid there. It was
the castle I owned— above me,
a painted-blue sky with labeled
constellations I had every right

to love. The stones on the wall
were almost gold and I was going
somewhere, or home, a child, a
young woman who rode elevators

to jobs she didn’t like in tall old
buildings just as graceful, holding
a bag with a buttered roll and hot
sweet coffee in a thick paper cup.

Or laughing into the place late
and a little drunk, running to the
gate, the 12:20. Or the day when
it snowed and snowed and I was

let go early into a noontime dull as
old silver. Astonished, I danced my
way down Park Avenue for soup at
the Oyster Bar, to wait for my train

as if I were just another grownup—
and I was, sated, paying, tipping,
every soul in Midtown a blizzard I’d
rooted for since before I was born.

The writer captures the feelings of youth in a particular place and moment with exuberance and vivid imagery. --Carol Graser