Our city becomes another’s city and they don’t even live here.
Our city becomes another city that will one day glow, for miles underwater.
Our city has strategically-planned streets, and accidental cobblestones. The neighborhoods have their symbols, their light-pole banners, their car washes and coffee shops. Clogged drains and stray dogs and condos and bullfrogs. A little fence to keep the heart in. A garden. Ten Thai restaurants in a row. A bus stop and a newspaper on every homeless porch.
The neighborhoods remain separate, or they collide. Some are ramming into each other, smash-mixing, in the time it takes one body to fall from the observation deck.
The streets below the streets are daunting, gurgling with sewage. A black-gloved hand motions outside a window. People are coughing, steaming into each other’s faces on the subway. No one has a face unless it is cut out of a magazine.
I moved out of the city. Now, my neighbor is the one whose name I forget every other conversation. His neighbor is me, and a young family with closed blinds and a yard full of broken plastic. We circle each other like dogs, not saying anything. But the truth is that we live with our families and this is a nice neighborhood, close to schools and shopping.
I moved out of the city and now I don’t even live here.
My neighbor remembers how bright his city glowed too.
Our sons are jerks and we are embarrassed by what we thought we knew.