Microfiction: City

Each step on the sidewalk is a story. Something has happened that is greater than the sum of a body, the whole of feet and bones and blood. A life has been spent, made or traded on the concrete (or at least the ground beneath it).

They say not to romanticize New York too much, but that’s hard for anyone who hasn’t been exposed to the electric air from birth. Because when you arrive the first time, you’re the rabbit pulled from the hat.

I still dream of the skyline without end, the statue in the bay, every single promise.

Above the Jefferson

The stairwell is blood red
And two figures sit on the plush embrace
Holding hands and gripping
Water pipes that travel up the stories they are telling,
Clad in trenchcoats.

Down the hallway, a woman touches light
Like it is a cautious predator,
And the shadows will be the only things that
Keep her certainty safe
From the man on the bed and his wolf eyes.

In the ballroom, there is the gore
Of a thousand slain dancers who promised
Their forevers long ago to a partner
Who broke their toes and told them
That the world belonged to them and their children.

On the roof there is a scratching,
A tapping of a starling that looks down on a city that is
Worn and covered in scar tissue,
And it counts the sleeping forms in the abandoned parking deck,
Waiting to take the scraps of their clothes and create a tomorrow from them.

Language Barrier

One day
It’s a sunshine yellow block of clay
And there is hardly anyone there, foreign and
Even more quiet because you are the only ones
Speaking
Except for a child that hits a note over and over again,
Melody of discontent.
There’s food but it’s not what you ordered
And bullets litter the lot outside
Like wishes, like stars.
A car backfires
Says hello
And speeds away.

The next day
It’s a hard, black glass box
And it’s full and getting fuller, with expressions
That box you out and deny you your own
Silence
Except for when they have their noses in their coffee,
Discord of judgement.
There’s a breakfast plate and it is perfect
And the cars line up outside
Like knives, like bodies.
A door jingles
Says goodbye
And closes behind you.