Lots of layers of broken things, I thought as I picked my way up the mountain of rubble.  A steel grey sky, jagged and harsh coughed sobriety to the scene like a dusty 1970s tv detective with a grizzled mustache.

I took a step and a slab of concrete slid down the mound 10 feet with me on top.  The smell of old tar and crumpled summer days filled my nostrils.  I sneezed into my arm.  A red gash in my shin bled onto the rocks.  I wiped my nose.  One brick spelled out "LIV" in tagged script.  I couldn't tell what it meant.  Tiny pieces settled like dust on my skin; the late sunlight striped the sedimentary layers.  A basketball court ground up when the high school couldn't pay to maintain it anymore.  Then, an aging freeway overpass that crumbled in an earthquake.  A sidewalk.  A dead building.  The artwork of children who never learned to speak what they feel.  Here and there some sticks, a few brave weeds.  I shoved a rock of each into my pocket.

Wheezing and bent, I got to the top.  Below me a silver river cut through a canyon of debris piled up high.  I couldn't see any grass, but somehow a handful of scraggly trees found a pathway along the water.  I stumbled down the other side, overcome by the need to curl up near nature's remnants and rest.

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