By Stuart Dybek
The garments worn in flying dreams
were fashioned there—
overcoats that swooped like kites,
scarves streaming like vapor trails,
gowns ballooning into spinnakers.
In a city like that one might sail
through life led by a runaway hat.
The young scattered in whatever directions
their wild hair pointed, and gusting
into one another, fell in love.
At night, wind rippled saxophones
that hung like windchimes in pawnshop
windows, hooting through each horn
so that the streets seemed haunted
not by nighthawks, but by doves.
Pinwheels whirled from steeples
in place of crosses. At the pinnacles
of public buildings, snagged underclothes—
the only flag—flapped majestically.
And when it came time to disappear
one simply chose a thoroughfare
devoid of memories, raised a collar,
and turned his back on the wind.
I closed my eyes and stepped
into a swirl of scuttling leaves.
“Windy City” from Streets in Their Own Ink by Stuart Dybek. Copyright 2004 by Stuart Dybek. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, http://us.macmillan.com/fsg. All rights reserved.
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Source: Streets in Their Own Ink (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2006)
More By This Poet
Fire ran horrified
from its ashes.
In the afterglow,
cinematic shadows fled
from flesh and blood.
followed years later
by their wounds.
Blinks of red
but there was
nowhere to stop
for the train
pulling its wreckage.
They were nearing the end of their story.
The fire was dying, like the fire in the story.
Each page turned was torn and fed
to flames, until word by word the book
burned down to an unmade bed of ash.
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