The Sun

The Sun

It is August.  August in Key West is rather like February in New England, I suppose, a month to be endured.  It is a watching month.  One sits and watches hurricanes grow and strengthen and wobble and shift on the news.  One sits and watches dragon flies and swallows swoop over the meadow in the golden evening light.  One sits bayside and watches storms grow over the Everglades, as they get closer the rumble of thunder rolls across the water and strikes you full in the chest reminding you to breathe.  The air is heavy and thick, filled with the smell of rain or mangroves or plumeria or jasmine.  Thick odors, in your face smells, things you cannot ignore for the only way to do so is to stop breathing.  Stretched out poolside, towel damp beneath you, the sharp smell of chlorine in your hair, you try it.  What is it like not to breathe?  Pressed flat by the sun, cement hot beneath your wet towel, you try it. Breathing slower and shallower, then slower still you feel your heart beat settle till every breath feels like you are holding the sun nestled between your breasts, heavy and hot.  What is time to August?  Nothing.  The longest month in the tropics.  How long?  Breathe.  Once more, now twice, now deeply.  Raise the sun from your chest.  Throw it skyward.  One more day.  One day closer to September.

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