Sunday Morning

Out walking Sunday morning before most people are up. Few cars in the streets. The firemen spray the sidewalk in front of their firehouse with a hose. A broken bottle on the corner maybe from a drunken fight last night. The park is being cleaned by women in matching blue T-shirts and garbage bins on wheels (some kind of community service?). They discuss men as they wheel the bins around, commiserate with each other. The fountain is on and a few silent people sit watching. On the bench beneath the knotted tree a man and woman sleep, a giant suitcase by their side. The man sleeps sitting up, slumped forward over his knees. The woman sleeps sideways on the bench, her head as close to him as she can get it without actually touching him. I saw them yesterday morning, too, same bench, same grubby suitcase. The man was yelling at the woman yesterday, telling her to listen, did she hear what he said? Now, this morning as I pass they both snore. Wonder if they live there on that bench, have nowhere else to go. This is the same tree under which some mornings people meet and shake hands a lot. Don’t look too closely, don’t want to know what they’re handing off. Past the park, every restaurant is closed. Chairs up on tables, gated windows. Two boys swaying drunkenly as they walk down the block, passing me loudly, their night not yet over. The newsstand is boarded up. The light is green when I reach Broadway, but there are no cars so I cross through the Don’t Walk sign. There is no line at the coffee shop. In the display windows of the clothing store all the models have had their clothes removed. They stand there, posed plastic, naked. One window contains only naked torsos, perfectly smooth, blank heads. The others show the naked bodies reaching out toward each other, saying nothing. An old man walking a dog stops and looks. In the far window, a store employee slowly dresses the models. She has three more wide windows to go. I reach my building, sign in at the guard’s desk. Each morning he watches a movie on a tiny portable screen, doesn’t even look up. This morning he has let a strange woman use his telephone. She cries. He looks at me helplessly, as she is holding his pen. I sign in with my own pen, up the elevator, and here I am.


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