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Words of Fire

The City Breathing

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The City Breathing

Consider three a.m. when the city begins
to breathe without labor, its inky exhalations
unfolding around the custodians of night:
doorman, trash picker, street sweep,
caretaker, cook. The woman making a bed
from slatted bench, the man rattling iron grates
to summon the comfort of echoes.
A bus driver carves a path up Broadway,
carries his fragile cargo away from
the city center where these guardians tend
its injuries while we sleep.
Let them be cloaked in the phosphor
of a falling star. Let them be warmed by
the breath of a world made new.

 


Source:  First published, in slightly different form, as part of Terry Wolverton/Writers at Work “Common Prayers” Poetry Postcards Project, supported by a grant from the City of Los Angeles.

Candace Pearson’s “Hour of Unfolding” won the 2010 Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry from Longwood University. A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, she has had poems published or forthcoming in leading journals nationwide, including Crab Orchard Review, Bellevue Literary Journal, Cimarron Review, Ploughshares, 5 AM and Poem/Memoir/Story. She lives in the Los Angeles hills.

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