everything about them, all at once

the city
Nokyoung Xayasane

Every day and every moment,
she felt the movement of time
clearly, distinctly.
Everywhere hungry clocks were ticking,
alarms were sounding.
Every second counting down
and starting all over again.
People rushed by her
in a hurry to get somewhere.
She felt herself buoyed up
in the wave of bodies.

In their homes, she saw them
wringing their hands,
preparing a meal for the next day.
She saw them learning Spanish
and taking their driving test for the third time.
She saw everything about them,
all at once,
like floodlights in the darkness.

The music resounded in the corridor
of the subway and no one turned to look.
A body lay on a subway grate,
the heat billowing up from the depths of
steel and movement,
and no one noticed.
She could feel her brow furrow and
she watched as a blind woman
made her way across the street,
walking into traffic.

There were all these people,
all these lives,
trying one way or another
to survive.
She felt herself moving along
in the wake of them, and disappearing
into them.

There was a cold wind blowing.
She had lost her umbrella at a gala,
and the rain fell, a light mist.
She looked out across the city.
The streets seemed deserted
at this hour.
She walked along, looking down
at the ground and looking up
at the night sky.
She felt the rain along her
lower lash line,
but there was no rain,
only a light mist.
She blinked and blinked and blinked
until the rain disappeared.

The wind picked up
and she hurried to the subway.
There was the spot
where she had looked down
on a person sleeping
on a subway grate.
No one was there,
but the heat wafted up from below
and warmed her briefly.
She entered the subway, tired,
ready to lay down in the stairwell
when she heard the music
coming from below,
but there was no musician
and there was no guitar case
to place her change, and yet still
she kept walking, for some reason,
she kept walking.

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