Windy City

By Stuart Dybek b. 1942 Stuart Dybek
The garments worn in flying dreams
were fashioned there—
overcoats that swooped like kites,
scarves streaming like vapor trails,
gowns ballooning into spinnakers.

In a city like that one might sail
through life led by a runaway hat.
The young scattered in whatever directions
their wild hair pointed, and gusting
into one another, fell in love.

At night, wind rippled saxophones
that hung like windchimes in pawnshop
windows, hooting through each horn
so that the streets seemed haunted   
not by nighthawks, but by doves.   

Pinwheels whirled from steeples
in place of crosses. At the pinnacles
of public buildings, snagged underclothes—
the only flag—flapped majestically.
And when it came time to disappear

one simply chose a thoroughfare
devoid of memories, raised a collar,
and turned his back on the wind.
I closed my eyes and stepped
into a swirl of scuttling leaves.

“Windy City” from Streets in Their Own Ink by Stuart Dybek. Copyright 2004 by Stuart Dybek. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. www.fsgbooks.com

Source: Streets in Their Own Ink (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2006)

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Poet Stuart Dybek b. 1942

Subjects Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries

 Stuart  Dybek

Biography

Poet and fiction writer Stuart Dybek was born in 1942 and raised on the South Side of Chicago. He attended Loyola University in Chicago and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His collections of poetry include Brass Knuckles (1979) and Streets in Their Own Ink (2004). His works of fiction, including the short story collections Childhood and Other Neighborhoods (1980) and The Coast of Chicago (1990), and the novel-in-stories I Sailed . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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