A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2005, vol 1 no 2

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Allen McGill

Night Shift

Nearly midnight ... silence. Behind the glass barrier separating 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 and green. Spastic jolts and halts, anticipatory edging across painted gridlines. Jewels revolve atop black and whites as they race across town.

A trio of garlanded bridges span the eastern river, motionless but for a lone bus racing across. Beyond a building spire, rising from an isolated speck of island in the darkness, a beam-lit statue holds a glowing torch.

specks of light
criss-cross the harbor
ferry docks

Rooftops black as pits. Lights appear, then die as cleaners move from floor to floor, office to office. Lights reflected in facing windows - but from my aerie - too far away to see myself.

An aircraft overhead, invisible but for its wing-lights against the matte-black sky. Imagined engine roars reach my ear, as did the police car's wail and an ambulance's siren ... but no, just a fluorescent's hum.

The city eases into the early hours, barely slowing to recoup its energy. As if in respect for those asleep, or about to die. Stars hide, unable to compete with the glare of neon. Midnight; I leave to stroll the empty streets.

light the concrete sidewalks
a mannequin smiles

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