A man at the largest table of this coffee shop, dealing seven piles of cards to himself in a game of solitaire. Everyone else is tangled up in cords, laptops, headphones, but he just has his deck, his lunchbox, and a surprisingly large turquoise ring on his right hand.
Can we please stage a quiet public revolution by setting up a Scrabble board, reading books, turning over the wobbly three-minute hourglass and writing down spiraling Boggle words?
If only the guy with the Bluetooth headset would challenge the solitary solitarist to a game of War. ALL WOULD BE RIGHT WITH THE WORLD.
“I wish in the city of your heart
you would let me be the street
where you walk when you are most
yourself. I imagine the houses:
It has been raining, but the rain
is done and the children kept home
have begun opening their doors.”—
The first is for hot air forced through vents and protesting radiators, useful for the drying of watery socks, snowy soles. Making noses bleed onto one square of toilet paper after another. When falling asleep contends with an ever-migrating itch, one that darts from inner arm to outer thigh to deeply—impossibly—beneath the heel of the foot. The glass of the window shakes loosely in its frame. Skin cracks at the seams, is anointed and bandaged. It’s a slow, unrewarding molting.
The second is for the opposite, retreating from heat into cold. Swinging open the freezer is a high point. Outside, you consider falling forward into air heavy enough to carry you through a sidestroke. Quickly duck beneath a shadow. Choose carefully, as leaves have unstable borders that shake with hot wind. These shadows move lazily, so slowly you don’t notice until your body is bisected, half of you growing quickly pinker. Continue chasing the edges of the shadows, a slow-moving clock hand.
Finding a hair in the binding of a library book, a hair—dark and long—that is obviously not your own. Open the facing pages wide, wrest it from the crack: consider where this book has been before. How comfortable are you now, that book so near your pillow?