It begins with the heat.
At last we understand the language

used to describe how it rolls in
across entire regions, how it presses  

itself on whole avenues without shade, 
an ocean of it bearing down with its tonnage

of salt. Before noon, we find flies 
stunned into stillness on the window ledge.

I am afraid to inquire about the hummingbirds,
to ask if a snail might find a foothold

without melting into itself; if parts of dragonflies
have combusted into those tiny unburned

particles we call smoke. 
Men hauling stone or working on a fence 

stop to gasp for breath, wringing out their faces.
Spires glisten as if smeared with oil.

This is the world now, all tar
and trouble, its rivers migrated to the moon. 

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