Windy City

by Stuart Dybek

The garments worn in flying dreams
were fashioned there—
overcoats that swooped like kites,
scarves streaming like vapor trails,
gowns ballooning into spinnakers.

In a city like that one might sail
through life lead by a runaway hat.
The young scattered in whatever directions
their wild hair pointed, and gusting
into one another, they fell in love.

At night, wind rippled the saxophones
suspended like windchimes
in pawnshop windows, hooting
so that the streets seemed haunted,
not by nighthawks, but by doves.

Pinwheels whirred from steeples
in place of crosses. At the pinnacles
of public buildings, snagged underclothes—
the only flag—flapped magestically.
And when it came time to disappear

one simply chose a thoroughfare
devoid of memories, raised a collar,
and turned one’s back on the wind.
I remember closing my eyes as I stepped
into a swirl of scuttling leaves.

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