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An Ode to the City

written by Maud Quilici

illustrated by Kateřina Panešová

I have always felt that the city enveloped me
In its stink
In its warmth
In its lonesomeness
The city sleeps when I don’t
It embraces me

City streets run in space, lure me in
I am caught in a web of things to see
Each car tells me its passengers’ secrets in a whisper
The concrete melts in the summer heat
It fragments under my feet
Islands of lonely people move about

I have no body
Only eyes like empty shells that take everything in
I fill them up with visions of life
No restlessness
There is a unity in our separateness

Leave stains everywhere
They seep into the ground
As they bleed
As they vomit
As they piss
As they die on the pavements
They vanish the next day

Pieces of them still remain
In the air, if you look closely
In every anonymous parcel of man-made block
All the artificial light shines on their faces in the night
Envelope them too

And the air is solid
And the sounds are too faint to be heard
And the lights are too low
They glow even in the night
The city ropes me in
Won’t let me go

Once it takes me
In its underbelly
I will seep into the ground
I will spread like ink on a letter
A desperate letter
And evaporate the next day.

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