The Storm Drain’s Dream
written by Mathias Svalina with Joe Hall
All day, the city’s conversations flow over the streets & sidewalks & grass, falling from windows, dropping out of open car doors, slipping out of cellphones, all of them flowing downhill with gravity, all of them baking in the sun, scraping over the asphalt, through the cigarette butts & dog urine & grime, until they reach the metal grating of me & slip inside, where it is dark & cool & quiet. In me the declarations & mutterings & whispers & shouts & questions & answers & defenses & persuasions all relax. They shed their urgency, are freed from their contexts, no longer needing to embody a speaker or elude an audience. Each day I fill with the city’s voices. And then, after the sun sets & the streets empty, the night gently coaxes the statements back out of me, giving its tender voice to them. The night speaks the hardest words first, the polysyllabic words of subterfuge & commerce & jurisdiction & exactitude. Then the night speaks the nouns & verbs of everyday usage. The night speaks the city’s names. The night speaks the city’s actions, releasing all the conversations from me, allowing them to revert back from sentences into breaths, until all that is left is the little words, the beautiful & simple words of connection & condition. And, and, and, and, and, and, the night whispers. If, if, if, if, if, if, if, the night wishes.