Custodians of the Night City


Across a quiet night in summer I wander. Something’s happened — something momentous — but now it is over and I am going home. I like what street lights do to the city: little halos for ordinary angels… who walked away.

It is at this time — when everything has already happened — that the barrenderos with their brooms and carts emerge from cracks in the edifices. They are the custodians of the night city, reminders of a more genteel world where decorum reigns and lovers kiss in the shadows.

When everyone has left, the barrenderos fan out into the streets and take them back. Impassive, they display no emotion as they collect the refuse that the Day People have left. If there was an offense given, none is taken. They sweep and sweep. And then they move on. When day breaks and the busy people return, the barrenderos will have again slipped out of sight.

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