words. beats. heat.

July 8, 2012 Posted by the writer

Dear blog family

It’s two in the morning. It was approximately 99 degrees fahrenheit today, 37 degrees celsius.

I wrote a story about it:

manhattan’s breath

New York City heat is different. On a 99 degree day in July, you become saturated with whatever someone you’re standing beside on the subway platform.

I changed the locks before you knew I kicked you out. I asked the locksmith with dreadlocks who lives in Brooklyn and just returned from Egypt, “Is that normal?”

You and I don’t do normal things. That’s how we stay together.


In New York City, the atmosphere sweats. I slide the back of my hand across my forehead to wipe our Orchard Street apartment away from my thoughts. I’m in Central Park again. Up in the 100’s.

I spent five years living in the tropics. When an overweight woman in her fifties toddles past on a cell phone moaning, “This heat isn’t going anywhere until Tuesday, at least,” I shake my head. I feel bad about doing it afterward.

I feel bad about making you sleep in the street again last night.

Something about the heat makes my heart beat faster, it makes me anticipate an arrival. Something to perspire over. Someone to welcome.

I don’t need to be outside right now. I have an air-conditioned apartment, a refrigerated pitcher of ice water. The sun, clouds and heat are braided into a dull haze hanging low over the city. I feel like I’m inside of Manhattan’s mouth. Part of her breath.

Maybe I’ll sleep outside tonight too.

About the writer

gretchen's brain is preoccupied with words.

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