Into the Heat


Into the Heat

On the opposite side of nose-smudged windows,
I recall a caught inhale, an agitation, the claustrophobia

of the street. A young couple attempts to stroll on the footpath,
then return indoors before the brush of hands and exchange

of words. A single dishevelled cat, its jaw a fallen lever, pads in soft
zigzags on the empty path to a bass line of air-con units.

The local children, grudgingly prolonging their games,
twitch like caged canaries in their locked rooms. The many tales

they have heard will soon compel them to risk the sun’s sear
for a mere inhale of yellowed grass, a glimpse of a seabird

scrapping for a morsel, the feel of bark, the sting of mozzie
bite and thistle weed, the clarity of near birdsong; to let dirt

house beneath the fingernails. From the unshaded, quiet side
of the building, an elderly couple unhurriedly descend the steps

of their apartment to settle atop a kerbside bench, deliberate
and ready. Their eyelids and joined hands soon fall, their heads bow

and lower softly. Their stomachs compress like accordions.
They do not react to the approaching siren’s crescendo.

© Amanda Anastasi, 2019