The city goes first By Taylor Bereiter

The city goes first

as the light leaves, washing over marbled buildings, drawn away like a tablecloth
as god whispers a dark quiet into the world because he is eternity’s disc jockey

and small lights flicker on like distant candles
as people, lazy in their beds, annihilate the good air by shutting off their lamps
and we all sit with our thoughts as gravity keeps its consistent aging pull
as the stars peer down at us as listless angels
as the night dares all the animals into silence and we follow eyelids first into slumber
as shivering rats
crawl up subway pipes like god is at the other end
with a handful of cheese, laughing until the world grows moldy with indifference
and small children break apart

crackers in their dreams, their dreams small and brittle in the mouths
of their parents, taller children with bigger dreams that crumbled faster than they could grow
and maybe growing up isn’t something that happens to you, but something that follows you until you turn
and greet it with a few slumped shoulders
and shrug
into your life like
good enough
good enough today
but tomorrow
is today
on repeat
and god is a sticky fingered disc jockey at a house party
that everybody wants to leave.

We live life like a city unto ourselves
dark entirely inside, until the smallest parts of us wake up before the sun does
and we turn the lamps back on despite gravity’s protest
because somewhere out the door is a leaking pipe that smells of cheese
because we’re shivering rats and listless angels and children too dumb to stay young
and we’re shaking off sleep as tomorrow finds us
in the daytime, growing older one more moment, cut down by an edge of light
as the tablecloth folds over once more, drawn back into position by a turntable
and god sticks his finger onto a cracking disc and begs us, “one more, please—
I think we’ve just about got this living thing figured out.”

By Taylor Bereiter


Taylor began writing poetry in college and has since competed in multiple national poetry slams before flying off to Taiwan to teach English literature abroad. She writes because language is too damn fun to quit and because, as a trans woman, she has found poetry to be an excellent way to be heard.

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