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The Summer Street

Rain lifts the haze at dawn. Birds arrow through gutter steam, spill over trees; leaves startle in the wake of wings. Sunrise floods the street, rushes morning golden and wild across the stones. Children balance on high-wire shadows strung beneath pock-marked poles. Light fans the flames of columbine and poppies burning like the dreams of the old woman who sits on her porch swing. She lives outside of time; shelled memories snap between her fingers and fall into the bowl cradled in her lap. Faint voices of the roses call back the rain, and at dusk, the curtains stir with a life of their own, dancers moved by the same unrest that causes moths to court fire. Music from a cruising car jumpstarts early sleepers, leggy jazz kicking brassy stars against the screens, receding with the squeal of tires. The old woman winds the clock and numbers each rasping turn of the key. She counts the strokes of the brush, braids her hair in to a thin rope. In the upper rooms, the sheeets are warm, unslept. A cat curls into the garden basket abandoned on the steps. In every house, on every table, flowers gleam in their glass prisons, like the eyes of dark and beautiful angels. The woman sleeps in the wilderness of moon-thrown shadows. Night folds down leaves, memory wings; stones spill cold rhythms under each heartbeat.

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