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  • Then, when the days grow short, and it is that familiar northern dusk time in December, when night begins its haunting by four o'clock in the afternoon, or even three, in the narrow canyonlands of New York City, you might chance into Central Park, to catch the shape of the trees all bare and sculptural, forming a oneness of dim with the buildings.

    And the buildings back of the trees light up, bit by bit, in lemon windows going golden.

    The rock formations, the geology of the place, geology, our earth speech.

    And the bench.

    Who just left the frame?

    The sun did.

    And now it is lowering on the west in the river and the gloaming greens take over.

    The bench has seen it before. The bench has seen all things.

    Did the bench and the light know the date? Did the air know it had one year and nine months, before the photographer would walk the same Central Park, walk by the same bench, but this time coughing, this time coughing green?

    Did the bench know that the photographer, walking up from the lower reaches of the island would have inhaled the fur and the tickertape, the smegma and the serum, the paperwork and file shreds, the disintegrations of the great day zap, the pieces of burnt planes, the howls? The mummified howls.

    Did the bench know that two years after this photo was taken, she would be full of Ground Zero in her lungs, and coughing up the sick colours of the sick day?

    Leaning on the ancient rock outcrops to cough her guts out.

    Sitting back on the same bench.

    The bench has seen all things. Dusk so fine, down in the purpling back of windows where plans are made.

    (Photo by Susan)
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