corvi (corivax) wrote,

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shadow of a city

There's another city here, a ghost thing laid over New Orleans like fog and carnival.

You can look at any door and see how many living, and how many dead walked there, animals and waters and flame, shadows of the city that was. You can see where the water was, the intricate stained-glass lines it scrawled on the walls. After a week here, it's all second nature, to look around and see the City That Was, that one day in August frozen here forever.

When we got here, it was Babel to us, jumbled rubble and spraypaint and sidewalks that unravel into nothing. But it's like learning to read. One day you look around and realize all those wierd black shapes mean something, amke letters and words and music; one day you look around and realize you can see the people and the light and the waters, the City That Was curled around your shoulders.

When we're clearing a house, I find myself absent-mindedly turning mirrors to the wall, like I'm not quite sure which I'd see in them, the ghost city, or the city that goes on breathing. caladri finds a note behind a mirror, some long-forgotten prayer from the City that Was.

We're done now, and back on the road towards home. Working here was painful and uplifting by turns, transcendant and ashen.

We'll be back. You should come too.
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