Part Conversation

I must have a muscle-memory for cities.
Every day I’m here I follow it on a leash―my bliss.
In fact I can’t stop walking.

A sprightly passerby, dressed for work, skateboards up the outside of a building,
to the fifth floor, lands like a cat on the sidewalk, and seamlessly continues on his way.
I pause before the windows of illusions on this building: people
in cars, bicycles, on foot, start on one path, then
I see them swoop down to entry level at the same time they rise to the roof—split in two
directions at once, like the wonderful way
so many here switch from French to English,
fluid as mercury. All through the city
the buildings are talking to each other and I’m part of the conversation,
on the ground level. From opposite sides of the street: a patter
of patterns―reflections distort into midair abstractions ~ swirls and ellipses . . . Then clouds
fill the upper panes, like fleeting thoughts,
confusing flying birds.

Vintage buildings are invigorated by modern ones;
pink glass shocks Victorian frump, or does homage by imitating
the shape, while streamlining, dropping oldfangled details, which are still
stunning―they bespeak the soul of the city; the moderns gain depth and meaning
from the quaint.
We meet for lunch and it’s natural, as if
this happened—like it used to—all the time,
when you were a teenager and we needed a place outside tense roles to enjoy
each other’s company. I’m in your city now; wandering en seule,
past an old limestone building
with a bas relief in old brick on its side
in the shape of the house that was pried off—a trace
of what once was.

Laura Glenn