All cities where I’ve loved or been loved have a piece of me in them, whether they know it or not. But yesterday, tonight, and tomorrow, I am in Washington DC.

This city smells like moral turmoil and rain and warm lights in the Reflection Pool. This city has memories that have shaped me, and the nation, and the world, even. Men in ties curl around marble corners like hungry dragons. A bartender with braids and nipple rings rebukes the mainstream media, dropping a smoked rosemary sprig into my glass.

Somewhere in the city is my lover. Falling in love with a skyline as a backdrop is a story my mother knew too, but Washington is so different from New York, and so I hope it ends differently. New York pants with an orgasmic thrill while DC inhales slow and steady, breathes out like you think it’s mad but really it’s just thinking and thinking — and maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch it dreaming. I can’t say what it is exactly. Maybe I’m starting to fall for the straight edge buildings and the murmur of politics between the aisles of a grocery store.  

I’ve seen magic cities, but Washington’s true magic is tucked away and hidden for those that look for it.

It’s in the neighborhoods with corner store champagne bottles for shrines. The proud sway of a go-go beat at a red light. It’s in the quiet, rising sun against perfect trees and the shrill brakes of a metro train rushing through the fog. Curly hair piled on a woman’s head, tired eyes all around during a morning commute. Quiet lovers on a stone bench, fingers woven together. The irony of a monument to an old world as a new one falls around it – building, collapsing and rebuilding again.