I stare, sweltering in the amplified glare of my high-rise glazing, eyes hot glued to the melting asphalt, blazing sunshine bleaching, burning broken light slices refractions, stabbing when I stop blinking, lashes dripping sharp sweat.  Streets move sludge slow like bright Sunday honey swathed in combustible smoke. 

Window-unit thrumming murmur, its’ saturated filter spewing old oxygen into clanky oscillation, city atmosphere inside, sodden with exhaust.

The hum of the blaring air conditioner a steady dank drone, time’s crisp ticks mushing minutes into months.  Baby hairs tickle my temples & I shiver like I’m stuck in wet wool sweater. 

Shaken from molten transfixion, I unpeel from my fibrous couch soaked with the expulsion of my salty soul & shut the shades with their squeaky slats spaced too far & strung too tight to block out the keen blade of blinding heat.   

My Neighbor’s door bangs closed, frame shaking the pulpy walls of warped building, soft shoes tapping lightly on cool marble.

The window above the dank air unit smolders hot & glowing like a witch’s oven, & I twirl the wand to spin it open: My Neighbor steps out – breathtaking as the swirling sea, energetic smile & skip in her step as she reaches for her companion’s hand as they beam & bask.

Hot lava tears fill my eyes as the heat bakes what my heart boils over, shelves shifting & plates colliding as the explosion of energy blasts every emotion, soldered to the star shooting across the street. 

She spins, looks up, & sees me, a smudged eruption; I freeze, dank air blowing centralized on my torso. 

I raise my hand to slide the blinds shut: she reaches her hand toward me as she mouth’s my name.  A small sweat stain blooms on her flowing peplum as I breathe deep the burning, cold, wet, dirty air of the damned.  She glides back across the street toward me, a tidepool returning to our floor.

I smack my hands onto the air conditioner, a quick, cheap plastic slap: then ripping & roaring, I push – push hard & push fast for my own, fresh, air.  Neck crained, she sees me & her eyes light like the glory of unreasonable, seismic, final beauty as the crushing impact of the air conditioner smashes her head & body onto the concrete with a sloshing, crashing, crunch.  

Exposed in the open window, my fractured face is soothed by a refreshing breeze. 

View wide, a pop of color & energy, a fair-haired child was splashed with a tidal wave of bright blood. 

A brisk wind & brown leaf blows onto my ledge:  it is Summer’s end.

Summer 2020