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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.