This city keeps its own. The people here may die, but never truly leave; we are preserved with every cigarette inhalation of formaldehyde, every intoxicated exhalation of alcohol and ammonia. Each ingested breath of poison preserves another layer of our flesh, like mummies in a catacomb of glass and steel, huddled around our little flames in paupers’ graves. We shrivel, harden, turn to leather and dried bone encasing soft organs shrunk to black stones, but the city will never allow us to dissolve into dust and escape on an errant breeze. This is our eternity, spent clutching at our hearts in rigor mortise while the world stares in passing.


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