there's beauty in the cracks in the pavement,
webbing out from under my feet
like some spider's nest,
but i have nothing to fear.
a predatory glance, wide eyes and vacant smile;
a woman on the hunt,
innocent monster chasing the scent
of her deaf and eyeless prey.

the city lived through me.
i was both vessel and master,
carrying its overcooked, acrid words
and, in turn,
whipping this ancient child into submission
so it might whisper my own.
i owned the land that these strangers walked upon.
in my left hand was a book of their beliefs,
writings and scrawled prophecies
that'll never come true in reality
but breathe on in me.

in my right hand i clutched a needle and thread,
the tools of the seamstress.
i brought both healing and pain to my patients:
humans, animals, plantlife, this city.
a precarious balance between many lives:
priestess, student, nurse, gladiator, thief, child.
my few oaths were spoken to the streets
that raised me, the sidewalks and pathways
that shrieked with every ragged step across their faces.

this city taught me what it was to be human.
take what you can get, girl;
you won't get another chance.
punctuality was key, but i hardly minded
the nights i was locked out of civilized homes
and churches that sought to shelter me.
it was a moment where i could sneak away
to the chapel of my own one-woman religion.

in alleyways secluded from the roar of sirens
and desperate addicts seeking a release,
i'd find my communion with the city.
it was there in a kingdom of trash
where i was surrounded by brick,
poverty, disease and hostility...
it was there i found the acceptance i sought,
there i heard the voice of the city.
my voice.
sometimes, i'd scream out my praises
to a sky clad in smog and streetlight,
wild and carefree
despite the trouble such noise brought me.
and sometimes i'd collapse
in a reverent heap at the feet of the urban wilderness,
offering my heart on a silver platter.
and sometimes,
i'd just go blank
'til the drive to simply continue returned,
and i'd walk on.
this city and i are one.