New York City, July 7, 2014

★ A pigeon puffed up and hunkered down in the top level of the fountain. The heat was baking, but still not crushing or unbearable; it raised a sweat but not a soaking one. A seed puff floated along at a companionable pedestrian rate till it reached the windward edge of a dumpster and sank. Cold streams of air conditioning crossed the sidewalk. On the subway, a bright-eyed young woman told a young man on other side of the doorway that she was heading to the beach, that she was going to see a movie there, that her birthday had just passed. They smiled back and forth and chatted for a few stops, and then they lapsed into the silence of strangers and he put his earbuds in. A man with a bucket partially tore down some posters from a plywood barrier, then started brushing on a poster of his own. The air conditioning drip pattered on the awning of the office entrance. It was still baking hot as the sun lowered, blindingly. A wash of taxi-colored light passed all the way under a cab, lighting the Broadway pavement. Late at night, the orange sky was raked with lightning bolts. Their shapes registered through eyelids, on uncorrected and astigmatic eyes. Rain crunched against the windows.

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