The Street Sweepers

Nobody sees this side of the city but us: The donut-shop owners starting their machines. The street walkers who didn’t catch the right eye. The lonely taxi drivers making circles around the park. The staggering drunks. The beat cops. The street sweepers.

We see the stuff the rest of you don’t. The stuff you leave behind in the gutters, the stuff hidden under a million trampling feet until the bars close and the traffic lights cycle over empty intersections. The trash. The secrets.

There are bills—tens, twenties, fifties. There are whole wallets. Playbills and stuffed animals and shopping lists. There are bullets. Condoms. There are photos of smiling families. Takeout menus. Joints. Wedding rings.

And there’s more: Hastily scrawled chalk symbols that cats won’t cross. Shadows with no one to make them. Silver dishes of milk and blood left on fire escapes.

And once, a single golden feather that floated up and caught the moonlight until it was just the flashing of another plane leaving for anywhere but here.

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