These Streets
Rosemarie, Age 13, Delta, BC

The dawn is just breaking, and the dead, gray cobblestone streets are filled with a damp light. Houses are broken, wood rotted and roofs punctured. Penniless tramps beg for a scrap of bread and skeleton rats scurry hopelessly around the desolate streets... But clouds above the deep violet mountains are glowing pinks, purples and oranges, and sparkling even more exuberantly as the sun nears the horizon, bringing hope.

Suddenly every nook and cranny is filled with a bronze light as the sun bursts above the smooth mountains. The light is warm and seems to bring life back into the streets. Thatched roofs are turned from grass to gold, and old wood is replenished. Beggars are turned rich, the hungry are fed, the naked clothed.

Donkeys are led out, coats shining, by wealthy farmers and children play with sticks and balls in wide dirt alleyways. Wells are overflowed with cool, clear water and women in crimson dresses stroll, filling glazed terra cotta pots to the brim. Shop doors are being thrown open, with warm, fresh baguettes fogging up display windows, cherry roses scenting the surrounding air, and hard, shiny mint candies spilling over the tops of vast glass jam jars.

Women pick out mangos and apples and melons from grocer's stalls, carefully wrap them in crackly, day old newspapers and set them like babies in their baskets. Frying eggs and bacon and laughter issue from every house as groggy children wake to a hot breakfast. Breezes fly around, whispering through trees and windows and laundry hung out to dry.

The sun rises higher and higher in the sky, and the calm, slightly-less-than-busy streets turn bustling, almost chaotic. Orders are shouted, gambling intensifies, and bargaining rises, but all the same, mirth reins over all. The sun in above their heads now, and starting its descent. The streets start to empty themselves, but the well still spills clear water, the roofs are gold, and the wood fresh. Donkeys still bray, but are less numerous, and bread is still figging up windows, although there is less of it. The sun sinks lower and lower towards the open field opposite the mountains until the sky turns bloodred and indigo and burgundy and heliotrope. Slowly it sinks lower, until only half of it remains, then one quarter, then only a speck which seems to fizzle before whimpering out. The moon sends down a silver glow which, although not nearly able to compare with the sun, keeps the city from falling down, from turning gold to grass, from replenished things to grow old. These streets, quiet as a sleeping army, send their battered dreams to heaven.

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