confluence / by laurel

the TV's on,

the eyes of the city are pulled from their sockets and the afternoon broadcast casts a sickly glow on the living room floor. I'm laying with an ear to the ground, picking up the vibrations of the day and age, but also trying to escape from the hot air that swirls around my head when I'm upright. The anchor spins a familiar tune, needle to the groove, a soothsaying sort taking up truth-slaying for sport.

It's too hot for the news. I set out, slamming the door but still confined by walls of daylight. It's maliciously hot and the temperature is climbing, a brisk and steady walk from 100 degrees, onward to 101, in irritatingly precise decimals. 101.9. One-hundred-and-two. I briefly consider the ramifications of aligning the mercurial climb with corresponding radio stations. Bad idea. Near-heatstroke may render me physically incapacitated but Mary Mother of God, I'm not insane.

Even on streets made liquid in the shimmering horizon, time has slowed. Dehydrated and sickly, minutes passing in 3/4 time, not as a waltz or even an inventive rhythmic pattern, but as the unbelievable molasses-like quality of the day. Never before has the phrase, "As the day is long" seemed so sinister.

But it's too hot to even think.

HOT HOT HOT

EFF

F

FFFFF.

I hover noiselessly over the pavement, the news of the day still sweaty and sticking to the insides of my skull. I begin mentally circling the wreckage of the Los Angeles basin from above, only to grimace at the vitriolic sneer directed back at me. Even now, shuttered by twilight, a tight wad of retail stores, embittered metropolitan constellations under a starless sky.

If I listen hard enough, the mosquito bites I've gotten in this twilight mid-flight would scream at me, hollering over the itching and scratching, but also about the plight of the middleman, the fight of the left-wing, right-wing conspirator (don't you need both wings to fly?)

I'd slap those bites and mutter, "Shut up, who needs you anyway?"

In the searing silence of the setting sun, everything regains its voice and I am battered with a barrage of conflicting statements, a confluence of inanimate objects and inordinate temperatures. Even still, I return home without a conclusion besides

It's too hot to even think.

The TV's on,


This time, I turn it off.