New York City is in the grips of a heat wave. White smoky demons rise from car radiators. Old women feint from dehydration, fall through manholes in the streets, sewers below sewers. Kat rescues one such woman. In the back booth at a McDonald’s, the woman paper-crowns Kat as Princess of the Speechless. She promises to be Kat’s hidden guardian. Kat has a dream of the woman turning into a Persian with emerald eyes, the same one she drew for Manga class. Slowly, the heat lifts from the streets. The sky is not a hollow drum. Kat is seized by a mania for lanky boys with green eyes. There is a space between night and day where New York City resembles crystal. Words are too heavy to float. Victims jump from windows and live to grow tall. In his apartment over a narrow street of stunted elms, a boy with rubber soles dances for Kat. In her new love, she stretches beyond sunrise and winks at a familiar cloud, as clear as her own sky writing across city walls.

Advertisements