the city

I dreamt of the city last night.

I was drifting down a river, floating on my back. The sky was featureless. Escarpments of earthy rock jutted impossibly high on either side. There was no living thing in sight. I was completely without perspective.

For a while, I walked on the sand that ran like a ribbon between water and stone. I would wander close to the rock walls, only to have them continually retreat from me.

After an eternity, the rockface dropped down low enough (or did I just move close enough?) so that I could see over it. It was the edges of a harbour, and I realised then I had reached the impossible city.

The city must have gleamed once, with all that marble. Clouds hid the uppermost reaches of its architecture, and each time my eyes penetrated the mists that hung from arches and temples I realised that another layer sat beyond and above that last one, forever spiralling up in a vertiginous peak. The city was a thousand Romes and Venices stacked upon each other.
I pulled myself from out from the water (I was in the river, again) and entered the city.
Passersby stared at me, at first, but once I entered the streets I became just another citizen.

There were no horizons. Once you were in the city, you lost all perspective.

Streets became lanes, became alleys, became unnamed thoroughfares. My friend (for i had a companion, now) walked fractal paths, clambering ever-upward.  We would enter a building from the front door, climb feverishly over counters and through rooms until we found a door, and another enclosed street, another stone-walled alleyway. Each time we exited, an hour or more would pass.

Within minutes, dawn had become twilight. And still we searched, clambering upward through Babel.

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