it’s been twice now you’ve watched the numbers on the streetcar transfers
reset themselves, three sixty five to one back to three sixty five
again. another year under all these many lights, seeing the trees
bud and bloom and fall asleep again under the snow. remember
how alone it was your first night here, how nobody knew
your name and you knew nobody’s face, how the first time
you took the bus you felt you might be swallowed whole?
you were not afraid, not exactly, just unsure, nervous
you’d accidentally spent your life dreaming of fucking off
to a place you didn’t realize would bleed you dry. it hasn’t:
your heart still beats, your brain moves faster than before and your feet too.
you have been hurt here but never by the city. all it has done
is pick you back up and push you back out into the street,
lit your cigarette and told you keep going kid,
there are so many eyes yours have not yet met and so many alleys
and candelit rooms your body has yet to occupy.
keep going kid, the city whispers, and you must listen.
it has existed for centuries before you, been a school and a church
a playground and a cemetery for millions you will never meet, but
your footsteps overlap theirs every earthly place you go.
it has seen worse than you and it has seen better.
when it tells you to carry on you must know it is right.
you must do as the streetlights and cab horns and sidewalks tell you
for they will not make promises they cannot keep. you are home now
and if you ever feel alone again just step out your door and listen
for the humming and the heartbeats all around you.