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There will come a moment when the city stops

to look back at you.
You will have observed it
unnoticed for months or years

before the one day the one-way street
flows its traffic back
against the direction you had been walking,

when the mirrored glass clears its eyes
and takes one good look at the avenue
and seems to really see you for the first time,

when the rooftops sailing the blue sky
above the city
throw anchors to still the clouds,

and the shadows, even, watch your step
as you trek the sidewalk back
to your neighborhood.

These preceding moments will have built and built
before toppling upon themselves, into this one
like the pile of bricks in this vacant lot.

And it is then that the city will glance down
and smile at your misfortune
before extending its hand at rebuilding.

And while the city might blink
or avert its gaze back upon itself
for days or weeks thereafter,

you will one night sit on your front porch
and hear the crickets still their instruments
for the approaching gang

of raccoons who will have wandered over
from their dumpsters to sit on the neighbor’s
balcony and watch you for half an hour.

And you will wake the next morning,
shower, shave and dress and drive
the skyline loop—and the city will wheel out

tethered rectangles of light and shadow,
a mobile of your rediscovered joy
hung from the morning sky.

And a flock of Canada geese will unthread
itself from the city’s fabric and stitch
the interstate to the western plains,

and as they each dip their noisy beaks
into the air above your windshield,
you will swear they take you up into the blacks

of their eyes before their cupped wings
re-hem the shimmering neck
of the city’s circumference.

And for another moment it will appear
that the city has taken up your gaze
and wonderment—.

And it is then that the city will take up the place
in your eyes looking out upon it,
a place that will seem to have belonged,

finally, to them all along.

Posted 04/27/11
Originally published in Mid-American Review, vol. XXV, no. 2.
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