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Excerpt from Silk City, 1913

No one can talk. No one can rest. The machines eclipse everything, eat human sound.

The too-wide windows flood the room with bald light. Skin yellows to blue. Every cranny is bright. Every corner naked. The dignity of shadows denied. You glance up at the clear-windowed offices that look upon the workroom. The bosses are up there somewhere. They always are. Perched in their eyrie, sharp-eyed, watching. Nothing escapes their notice. Can they see thoughts, too?


Tonight, the dream begins in the silk mill. Or rather, a perverted copy that your mind accepts as true. The dream ceiling is too high, cathedral-worthy. The windows too wide, no bars. Inside the workroom, the air swirls winter-white with silk dust, which drifts upon the floor in snowy mounds. Rows of evenly-spaced power looms stretch beyond visibility, a mechanical army. Before every fourth loom stands a woman dressed in a gingham skirt and dark apron, olive-complexioned, dark like you, each hopping to the rhythm of her machines, a hollow jig. Shuttles sail back and forth indifferently, skimming waves of broadcloth. The monotonous din fills ears, invades bodies.