Ordinary language is all right.
One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.
A barista takes out the trash, dawdles a few minutes, returns with a cigarette in her mouth, and then tucks the cigarette behind a pipe running down the building before she goes back inside.
A bird feeding another bird, who seems perfectly capable of feeding itself.
At the pharmacy, there are so many items marketed to such narrowly targeted needs on the shelf that the coupon dispenser hanging from it has been given a little red flashing light, so that customers will even see that it's there.
And now bounding around the corner of the yard of the funeral home on Grand comes, suddenly, a deer!, unexpectedly tall, leggy, looming a bit as you imagine must have always impressed all those of yore surprised by visions of beasts, out of place not just because of where it is, here in the middle of the city, but because of how it is, its scale: as if it doesn't fit in because it doesn't fit, not sized to our conveniences, our walkways, entryways, the layout of our grounds, the flow of people and cars amid the angle-bound patches of green. I suppose it must have bounded around the block from the relatively greener expanse of Summit, having emerged into some of the shaded expanses of the yards of the recessed houses there from the forested thicket that runs alongside Ayd Mill Road below, or maybe having trotted down the intermittently canopied trail on Summit's generous median, like a jogger. But however it left the cover of its hidden life, it's trapped now, exposed, like us, facing the truth that there is nowhere in the city you can rest, nowhere you can go to be free for long from the human presence. You can see it pause, hesitate, just long enough to weigh its options for continued flight around the funeral home before opting to race across the street, through the light traffic, in front of a driver not too startled to tap his brakes. It darts between two long apartment buildings and thence places unknown.
As the driver cruises past me, his window rolled down, his head clearly turns with the scan of his eye to find another eye, a human eye, the first he can find, mine, to exchange a look as if to say: will you look at that! From the curb and the sidewalk just intersecting the deer's path of flight, people are peering down the empty space between the buildings, still fumbling uncertainly at their half-raised phones, opportunity missed but the impulse to convey what they just witnessed still lingering. Maybe they snapped photos of the place it ran.
You can see something every day, but it takes more than looking; an eye opens, more than it is opened.
On the patio of this coffeeshop, the birds are familiar, near, looking about with a certain unguarded frankness in a way that tempers their natural birdy agitation, necks twisting rapidly this way and that, locking in place here, here, there, to keep an eye out. Steps ascending from the building's corner to the parking lot provide a little bird mezzanine on which they congregate, hop about. At the corner, a stretch of the building's bricks are each worn, recessed from the mortar's grid, to create a pigeonholed array of alcoves in which they alight to stoop and peck, though they are not pigeons.
A full three cars brazened their way into and through the intersection, two straight ahead in their lanes, another behind turning left, well after all the lights had changed, and when the driver on the opposite side who had already come to a stop for the red started anew into the intersection before coming calmly to her senses and stopping again, her reaction was marked not by the abrupt, bodily jerk of a mechanical counterreaction, but by an uncanny glimpse of the spectator within the whole contraption, withdrawing from engagement upon realizing that her autonomous body, or its situation, or its world, had almost led her astray.
Potholes in the bricks, filled; an abandoned shopping cart, gone.