Summer heat and the city reels, ripe as a castrated calf, simmering in amniotic soup. No one moves, breathes, lives, pinioned in slow ambering of time, bookflat between seasons, spring a distant memory, autumn an impossible hope. No wheels turn, no power flows. They die in their rooms, the old ones, the weak ones, and swelter until the stench bursts the door off its hinges. Scenes of terror waiting for life to resume.

Plague time.

Harbor water boils off, exposes rock ribs of sunken ships, glassy eye, thick stew of jellyfish. The poor crawl on bellies shingled with scales through cracked muck and crisped seaweed to wet lips white and blistered in brackish pools, tongues hard as shale or capital. No one goes near, no one touches them, no soul stirs within its cage of flesh at the sight. Our eyes have burned white, blind, 17 minutes hardboiled.

Thick pall of amnesia over the towers. No one goes in, no one goes out. A poetaster, wrapped in mirrored chains, blades flowering around his wrist, stands on the heights, shivering with desire, his mouth cool with fallen leaves.