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It was hot today. I felt like a hermit crab peeking out of their shell as I opened the front door. The heat swooped in. I scurred back into the shadows and air conditioning. Our thermometer hit 100F today. I put an umbrella in the yard to try and shade the grass. Last night I read that tomato plants may not produce anything if it’s this hot constantly, and it is this hot constantly. I have to get a shade cloth (is that the word? I can’t remember now) for them if we’re ever going to get those bright red tomatoes I’ve been craving. The ones that we hope may give us a bit of salvation from this city that is slowly melting into the real-life version of Dante’s dreams. Inferno. We’re on fire.

The sun barely sets at nine, and in our garden, we wash down the tree and the bushes and the vegetables and the grass and our feet. The cool water breathing life into the stale air. The sky can’t decide if it’s blue or gray, and if you try and focus on it, you cant. Different shades of blue and darkness battling above. “Hell is Coming” reads today’s headline. I take the laundry out of the washer and carry it outside. I set up the drying rack – the clanging metal a more terrible noise than opening an ironing board – a cacophony of screeching rust. The heavy wet clothes feel cool on my skin as I untangle them from the pile. The blackbirds chirp to each other in the tree above my head. The geckoes are out too – scurrying along the walls. “It’s not clear when the heat wave will end,” they warn in the news. Bats fly overhead, darting into that gray-blue sky in the nook of our backyard buried in a block in the city.

We’re becoming animals of the night as the day burns. I wonder if this is what Dante felt, or if it’s just what Florence became when the Arno ran brown instead of blue and cobblestones replaced the trees.

 

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