It is a hot night in the city and my clothes cling to my skin,
Sweat building around my upper lip
And circling the place where arm and torso meet.
It is humid in the night and there is noise -
Noise unlike anything I am used to,
Noise that rocks my frame back and forth,
That sends waves of nausea through my changing body,
That causes my head to spin madly along my neck.

I remember summer nights in the city from long ago.
I was smaller, compact, lying on a futon on the floor,
The cold seeping in through the ceramic tiles,
Cooling my burning skin and taking me far.
Now the same smell comes in through the window,
My body molding couch cushions as it used to.
I remember the phone ringing in the night,
My fingers fumbling for additional chapters in the story.

I am now in a different room, on cold floors, in an old office.
The noise is different, more frightening,
And it takes hours for the sun to fall,
Hours in which I cover my head and hide.
My skin avoids any contact with the used mattress,
Wrapping up in the too-heavy fleece blanket
That has warmed many people in the last few days.
I discard it and lie alone in the dark.

The different places don't matter and once again,
It's the middle of a hot night in the city.
The smell of the sea is far from where I am, instead I smell life,
Humanity and the stench of garbage in the pitted streets.
Lying awake in a bed above a central circle,
I hear the trucks rumbling at four in the morning,
The deaf old man shuffling to eat his early breakfast,
The blind old woman washing up in the bathroom before work.

It's nighttime and the bedroom calls to my tired body.
Nighttime in the summer with the long hours of sleep,
With the weekend, with the exhaustion, with the growth.
The air is hot and heavy, sticky with water,
With the smell of summer vacation that I'm deprived of.
Pacing in an apartment that is my home, that is not my own,
I can taste the past and all that was, taste the future that is to come,
Stories I have told and ones not yet known.

Summer 2010