The wind whipped down the side street, as it does so often this time of year in New York. Like some entrapped banshee, it screeched, wildly, tearing past the long sharpened shadows of the afternoon sun, then suddenly, more restrained, whistling softly like a frightened child in a graveyard.
It burst forth upon the broad avenue, now swirling in whorls of unseen turbulence, sweeping up gently with hidden hands the week-old newspaper, tossing it in graceful arcs and dives like some savage cat toying with its prey, ending its flight with bored indifference in a doorway swinging gently in the lingering eddies. Its newsprint preached in foreboding tones of warming planet and warring sects, of homeless and health care and dishonest pols. But the world thus depicted was now convulsively changed, new beyond recognition, dark beyond comprehension.
Down the grand avenue, the lucent cadence of stoplights kept their ordered rhythm, now green, green-red, now red again, an endless choreographed chronos now futile in purpose, whose lifeblood yet poured forth through subterranean copper veins from whirling turbines crafted to run unattended, for days.
The synchronized lines of green and red receded unbroken, their vortex co-mingling at the vanishing point of the now-empty boulevard. The once-vibrant canyon stood lifeless, the once-seething froth of trucks and horns, cabs and transport now a dry wash devoid of motion, the scattered gravel of abandoned cars marking its course like tombstones on a high mountain pass. In funereal silence, a man lay slumped near a steam vent, its wispy vapors rising like a fugacious ghost fleeing some ghastly tomb.
Continue reading “Mortal Canyons”