The Second Ugliest Building in the World

The second ugliest building in the world sits slumped in an industrial playground of crab grass and Russian thistle. Brown tufts and tumbleweeds dry between hastily dumped debris. A child’s plastic shopping cart lays on its side, yellow basket, plastic wheel spinning. The cellophane from an old cigarette pack clinging to a blade of grass. Bottles in a rille. Chain link cut down low and folded over, hidden by someone they tried to pen in.

Identical rooms: efficiency, blue standing shower, toilet, 2 burners and a dripping yellow fridge, wall to wall carpet worn to the quick. Is this so bad? It keeps you warm, it gets you clean, it stores your food and clothes and the things that fall between the dresser and the wall. The second ugliest building in the world doesn’t wait for an answer.

Empty or occupied, it holds itself erect. Through Moscow snow and wind, baking in the summer haze. Today it is unseasonably warm. Efficient, graffiti adorned, half abandoned, black windows, curtains flapping in the breeze, torn. The laughter of children threatening to turn into something else. It’s cloudy now, muffled thunder and the first warm drops of rain cutting the dust. It’s too humid to run.

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