I pass by two rivers every day.
In the morning, I will hear one as it carves a liquid path from behind the inhospitable walls guarding the backyard of a blank, unmemorable house. Arms of green branches – swathed in garnet colored jewels, parures of blossoms – thrust over residential parapets. The water sounds are rich and melodic; cool fingers that play on stones like a submerged keyboard. The chill rising from the plaits of rivulets thins nd comforts the thick summer air.
This must be some corner of a forest, full of charcoal shadows smudged by unknown fingers, sliced from its parents' living breast – thriving with chlorophyll – and transported to that little backyard. The trees must be huddled together for fear of the city, linking branches to form a brotherly, woodsy web. The bark is slashed into deep wounds, curved and lengthy, reflecting the shape of the river that glints between the roots that clutch and dig at the soil like talons. I don't know the source of this river. Perhaps it bleeds up from the lacerated earth.
In the evening, walking home on a different street, I see the second river. It is a voluptuous stripe of gold that writhes along the gutters of the street, pooling around the massed tires of parked cars. I imagine the prospectors of '49, with hands that are gray and split like diseased lumber, huddled around the drains and dipping their pewter trays into this river until the gilded arteries are bled dry.
Once more, I wondered about the source of this river. But this time I found it: in the trees that cast perpetual dusk ovr this slender current that was colored like melted sunlight, thick and congealed like discarded paint. Scattered throughout their branches were citrine bouquets of blossoms.
Every time the wind awoke from its summer drowsiness, it would whisper its congratulations. And with each invisible word, a bridal veil of yellow petals would fall like a filigree of tears, weaving a cloth of gold before making its bed in the sewer.