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Dawn over 9th St.

First the deep blue.

First the deep blue, then the lighter blue (with shades of orange). Streetlamps turned off to make way for sunlight. Light passed through the windows of the large building across the street. A huge truck, axles roaring, heaved down the street. Someone yelled, and the metal shutters of the small grocery under the subway were unlocked and thrown upwards with a clanking, medieval sound.

The sun was slow to start, a trickle of brightness, but it gathered confidence with the minutes, and within 40 minutes it found its footing. Light came now like a dam bursting, through the latticework of the elevated subway. It shone on the Gowanus Expressway, and bounced off the oily green of the Gowanus canal. It turned the drawbridge silver, then orange, then silver again. The streets went from black to asphalt-gray, the sidewalks from brown to beige, their irregular ellipses of gray chewing gum brought into view. Brightness came over the piled black garbage bags that line the streets on Monday nights. The shadows of the windowpanes began their angled crawl across apartment walls.

When it was nearly done, shoes began to clap on the sidewalks, only a few to start, then many each minute. These are the commuters who wake up in darkness, even in the summer. They must be in place to greet those who follow two hours later. They are old men with rough skin and young girls in velour slacks. Receptionists who will answer the first calls and take the packages; security guards who will take over from the night shift; ambitious young bankers who will greet the boss on her way in; restaurant workers who will cluster outside the steel-shuttered windows and wait for the manager to come with his key.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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