The Potsdam Report

Sarah Van Bonn


A taxi driver honked at a tourist on a bicycle. The square was empty, but its periphery was not. Roads became paths became trails, interrupting vegetation: manicured hedges and wild fields, mostly green, but differently. Sometimes the lines were straight and sometimes weren't lines but circles, and sometimes there were no marks at all. A duck hurried across a road, looking affronted or embarrassed. Starlings were rude to each other and to no one. Some surfaces dried more quickly than others. The sounds didn't echo so much as absorb. Old statues guarded old buildings with new names, except the statues corralled in a cage on the front lawn, who stood in poses of passive observance, as though bored at a rich person's pool party. Bridges made connections. Rivers ran. 



Bridges make connections. Rivers run.

I wouldn't have seen that exact Potsdam unless you'd asked, but you did, so I wrote a report. Later, you went too, to Sans Souci, and saw what I did, but differently. Imagine our two Sans Soucis, housed behind peepholes, new observers peering through, scanning each for differences, but my Sans Souci already partly yours, and yours mine (because of the report, because you asked)—though we still hadn't met, saw only peephole versions of each other. When we met, it was winter, mostly not-green. Where's the Potsdam Report now? you asked. It's inside a bigger story, one holding me and you, our Sans Soucis, the peepholes, and other Yous, who've joined us here.