A street slopes downhill, an acute drop, forcing me to govern my stride. (Maybe this isn’t my town, after all.) The kind of second-story flats people wind up letting after they’ve suffered a few disappointments. Trees built of heavy stones, pale and papery skin molting. A moment before evening when sky and pavement equal water, when a bird and wire equal water. Everything singular, like the numbing aspect of a lamp’s worldly crown. I’d sat with a friend at a spot where every third table accommodated a plate for a diner—she and I the only pair. Silverware on poor china there, and there, as an orchestra built of the same instrument. What she’d been saying, my friend, her pattern of stress. (“Maybe this isn’t my town, after all.”) The electricity, on credit, that animates an entire grid. Assumptions of utility and wastefulness—the way some guidance plays to the empty theatre of a wide intersection. An illness weakens a handshake; an illness within a handshake; the handshake equals water. February will end in a while, I don’t know who I’ll be in March, maybe afraid.