for Aaron Swartz
I open my computer and return to a bridge where the sky repeats.
Below me, dogs are running through green water modeled in two shades.
A third layer of darker brown provides the illusion of downstream motion.
I start firing nails before I reach the other side.
Their white lines form a neat triangle at the centre of my view
but I still feel ill at ease.
Levers spin without explanation on the walls around me.
There are always more dogs and dead men;
huge guns floating in open circles above the rigid stream.
I angle my fire to the left and ignite three drums of oil,
clearing a cavern at the bridge’s head.
Red pixels move in arcs across the screen,
trailing larger blocks of flesh.
The first shaking subsides
and other sounds return to the room.
I am lying behind the heaviest thing that I can find,
the papers around me thick with coffee and packing chips;
a dark mess on both my hands.
I want to clean them off but the street is full of policemen.
Some are running with guns and blue trousers,
their vests the colour of cool tar.
I watch them flowing by in steady groups,
distant sirens clearly audible
through the windows by the door.
An ice plant has been smashed on the road outside,
its damp soil kicked aside by men and women running.
The dirt on my hands is that same black earth,
its hard grains moving in a slip of thinner mud.
A second wave of low sound rolls through the building
and holds me against the wall.
I breathe in for what feels like too long,
press myself into the floor.
Everything is ringing,
my hands locked over
wadded sheets of damp paper
that change shape against my palms.
When I let the papers go
their rough edges are scored with darker lines.
The coffeeshop is gone;
broken earth smells of vinegar and raw plastic
where it used to be.
Little clothes are pinned among the bricks.
Their fabric forms a pattern that is folding into new shapes
but I stay as quiet as I can;
there are prisms all around me.
When they move, the grating sound dislodges loose insulation,
pink dust falling onto shorted wire and CD cases.
Beyond the roof’s broken edge,
I watch them flying in the air above a school;
raw-metal edges catching a red light
as they look downward, dip and turn.
My path is thick with those reflections,
running under melted awnings
with my face towards the earth below.