The city smelled of rusted leaves and smoke. A dog barked and she told me she liked that sound. Six men in black lined up in front. She stopped talking, swerved her voice and body away. They walked past. We walked past. We slid through the doors with the fish handles. A disembodied voice bounced off tall pillars. A solid tone, words like salted, chewy caramel in your mouth. A young priest gnawing away at these old words like a pup with a gnarled bone. Old words, words that were repeated back and back and had been repeated over and over and back. Known words. The building spoke to us and we trod on ancient flagstones. Over the faces of kings.
When the bridge was opened they brought elephants and other animals from the zoo. They made them walk over the bridge all day so that the people would trust. The elephant bridge stood solid in the chocolate orange air. She remembered the English for ‘smog’ and I laughed into my scarf.