Mating practice in humans consists of applying friction to body parts until they are engorged with blood. —Starpilot

And like a pendulum come round again, the mood strikes them and they couple there in the street, pressed up the sundrunk side of a building. Rush hour breaks around them; they leave a wake, three blocks long, of dry mouths and tightened throats. Infectious, the city crystallizes around them, super-saturated with a long July’s lust.

Home, they are half-paralyzed with heat. They strip naked and throw open the windows—the city swarms into the apartment, asphalt, garbage, cooking, sex; the faint cry of a siren circling the lake, the whicker of a helicopter passing overhead. There is nothing to eat. Dusk brings the illusion of coolness, and they emerge, faintly shining with summer. On the way to the restaurant they pass couples tangled in the short grass of the park; in these pairings they meet their own shadow, grown long in the westering light of the setting sun.