The city has a multitude of lovers. Some abuse her, hock her jewels, need her desperately even as they wound her.
Some of the city’s lovers want to change her, think she’d look better if she dressed a little classier. “A Dior dress, perhaps,” they say to a polished black-vested bartender. Other lovers wonder where she’s put her crinoline and lace, petticoats and broad straw hats. “She’s not the woman I fell in love with,” they whisper to the mirror and adjust their bow ties.
Lovers come to the city for a night, a weekend, a year. Each leaves believing they know her: a quiet lady of culture; a party girl with a wicked grin; a wise and stern teacher. She takes them, one and all to her bed, but she takes great pains to see that they leave, each and everyone, before the dawn. She keeps morning for herself.
She loves them all; collects them all like rare and treasured porcelain figures.
Her horses. Her mad laughers. Her children. Her old leathery men with faded tattoos on the beach. Her cutting winds. Her bankers. Her highway. Her peach-colored girls with fresh ink on their backs. Her river. Her travelers. Her insane Augusts. Her dusty black men and their palmetto roses. Her smokers. Her sensible Aprils. Her Vegans. Her one night stands. Her blackouts. Her romantics and dark cynics. Her lightning. Her childhood sweethearts.
She loves them all. She lays a cool hand on every cheek and breathes a shivering secret in every ear.
The city has a multitude of lovers.
She will never let them, not any one of them, ever forget her.