Beneath its dark, steel feet people gathered. Some craned their necks to catch subtle bends in the spire as it dodged accidental clouds, addled by the height before they’d even reached a step. Some took photos of of their loved ones, laughing as they clapped through slowly waning puddles being drank up by depressions in the gravelly mud. Others of us walked calmly in the plush and rain-washed grass, glancing inconspicuously at old stone buildings in the distance whose clocks stood ominous before the open garden but told nothing of the time.
Stretched along the edges, heavy arborvitae walls cut into facades slumped like aging ruins under the weight of recent storms. Just some fallen rain, their stable branches begun to fail, their flat surfaces disheveled by ragged interruptions of green foliage that sprung like stubborn hairs to disrupt their noble presence.
Stretched like weary arms around the neck of some looming skeleton of rigid lace, the hedges seemed half-hearted fences left to crumble in its wake, ebbing wisps of nature forced between I-beams and rivets.
We walked up its bolted stairs. We searched for imperfections in its slender rail as it slid through our palms and whispered cold and distant on our skin. And every flight we stalked a fault, a loosened binding weakened by the bruising wind, a wire fraying from the porcine cable that wound endless on its pullies.
We climbed until our muscles sang and clenched but tenuously to the bones they had to move. And it was we who sought to judge the failings of the scaffold that upheld us.
When we reached the top, blind with sweat despite the wind that wiped our faces, that pushed as if to throw unwanted guests from its solace, we looked across the city, across the endless splay of white landscape dressed in hairs of chimney smoke and shelves of fog that draped like drowsy clouds above the traffic, we looked beyond the perfect quilt of modern urban growth, off into the distant green patches whose foliage was indistinct but looked even through the smog like the crisp perfume of early spring, we looked and found beyond our perfect mess that there were tatters in the fabric that we needn’t try to mend.