Headed Somewhere Unimportant on a Hot Day

SidewalkWalking down a numbered street
I have just left my father’s car
and the air conditioning is still settled
in the bottoms of my shoes
encasing my feet, the feeling
soaking through my soles,
up into the muscles of my legs.

I continue to walk forward,
noticing tar spots on the sidewalk,
the concrete looking like
the floor of a painter’s studio.

I walk past a man
who is deflated on the curb,
returning to reality roughly,
piece by piece.
His eyes are closed
and his breath creaks like
the wind creaks through an abandoned house.
He coughs, and I avert my gaze,
walking forward.

The sunlight has had hours now
to soak through the sidewalk,
the asphalt, and the buildings.
I look away from the shimmering cityscape,
and focus on the sun.
I feel the heat sink in and replace the cool air in my shoes.

Olivia, tenth grade, downtown summer camp

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