We snag cabs and drift through the middle
of the night. The city a cathedral
we are ushered into, press our ears against—
listen for the sea sliding inside
its shell: the hushed shuffle
of feet across a pearling
asphalt nave, elapsed traffic, or blank radio
frequencies. The windows seal us in
with the damp heat of our breathing.
Outside the lakes lace themselves with ice.
In this particular depiction we play at staying
mum, at detecting the pre-blush
blush, at transforming
the stray flock of ambulance lights burst live
into a charm of humming-
birds. If it’s romantic to architect a thing
back into its bones—: imagine us in ruins
from the start.
Cori A. Winrock
"Portrayal, X-Ray" first appeared in Colorado Review.