Into the Heat

AMANDA ANASTASI

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,
swiftly returning 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 the unrelenting bass line of air-con units.

The neighbourhood 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 gum bark, the sting of mosquito
bite and thistle weed, and the clarity of near birdsong; to let dirt

house beneath the fingernails. From the unshaded 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