Side by Side

It’s the little things, I tell you, juxtaposed:

1. Just outside the palm, the palm was heavy with flowers. Not big ones, nothing flashy, but yellow-white dusty plumes. Nothing so big as to make a person even look twice, only tiny petals were falling like snow. There was no wind. And so I looked. The entire mass was swarmed with bees. The branch, which would dry and fall after the flowering and fruiting were done, was vibrating with tiny gold-black bodies. So I stood under the palm snow, watching the bough breathe and thrum until the I noticed how the sun’s angle had slipped, and I hurried back to work.

2. You can’t hear it from your car. You need the air around you. That crackle, that hum. Under the wires of the electric station, it snaps and buzzes as though the metal were thick with bees.

3. It comes as a wall here, sometimes. It was not a clear day, but the clouds were that bright silver that says they’re thin, that says there’s no rain, until I turned the corner, and the black rose up against the high rises, competing for space. I saw it. There is a line. Here, it is dry. There, it is not. That line rushed me, and the deluge was a blow. After that first shock, every drop was a needle, every turn of my bike pedals drove them deep under my skin.

In these, sharpness. But there is it. Little observations, left raw. I let them shift and settle.

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