Daydream of the homesick general with a gourd gut. Grounds of the narrow beef-broth river. Expanse of barracks and fairgrounds, cathedral malls, bright jeeps. Namesaken, swollen town. Copper-top towers of insurance magnates, medical hall of fame. City of remaining maples, snuffed neon, pensioners ruminating over donuts. Someone keeps the kitchen light on for me there. The half moons under her eyes hold my fingerprints. Blue boxes, black walnuts, aftermath of skunk. A tunnel I threaded my bike through. On summer nights, the howls of monkeys caged in an aging amusement park gave chase. City, I can almost see you. City, I have a flawed allegiance. My founding father is the doctor mopping classroom floors. City of benign industries, warm gusts of cornflakes and beer. In pauses, the river itself—slick muck, still turtles, rot. A volunteer on scaffolds faithfully repaints Return to Your Fortress, O Prisoners of Hope. City of my sudden lankiness, your clouds spark with plus and minus signs, drenching restored Victorians, forgotten laundry, the path where my name is an absence in a park bench. Sadiqa de Meijer’s first book is Leaving Howe Island. She lives in Kingston. The title “Because There Was and There Wasn’t a City” is from the work of Jamelie Hassan, an artist.