Night Shift Nyc

By Allen McGill




Nearly midnight, silence beyond the glass barrier that separates

me from the world below. I watch the lava flow dwindle

to swift-moving sparks, limning parallel river drives

heading south; tunnel-swallowed where they meet.

Illuminated webs spread erratically between, moving

at the whims of amber, red and green. Spastic jolts and halts,

anticipatory edging across painted gridlines. Revolving

jewels atop black-and-whites racing across town.

A trio of garlanded bridges span the eastern river,

static, but for a lone bus speeding across. Beyond

a building spire, rising from an isolated speck of island

in the harbor, a beam-lit statue elevates a glowing torch.

Rooftops, black as pits. Lights emerge, then blink away

as cleaners move from floor to floor, office

to office. Reflected light in facing windows - across

from my aerie - too distant to see my own reflection.

An aircraft passes overhead, invisible but for its wing-lights

against the matte-black sky. Imagined engine roars

reach my ear, as did a police car’s wail, an ambulance’s siren.

But no, just the fluorescent’s hum from the ceiling here.

The city eases into the early hours, barely slowing

to recoup its energy - as if in respect for those asleep,

or dying. Stars diminished, unable to compete with the glare

of neon. Midnight – shift over - I leave to stroll the empty streets.

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