181st and Cabrini
Amy Bergen

Stop to take an eye picture. When you shut your eyes in the sun, the world pictures itself photo-negative white into your head. It's the creepiest thing. I walked in front of a car once then turned around, in more than enough time. This is the bottom of a hill and if you like you can go down further across the highway to the Hudson. Running downhill feels helpless and so good, tumbling on ahead of yourself, watching yourself roll. I think I could stay and let the car shine right into me or go climb the gates of the George Washington Bridge or get my feet wet. I weigh too much to be a speedboat on the river. The sidewalk is too big to hide in. The cars grow tired of driving and rest. A gold spray-painted bicycle was chained to a Stop sign and I thought it was one of those bikes they put up where a cyclist has died, an angel bike, but probably it was a just a gold spray-painted bicycle. Something I decide, whether I know it or I don't, every time I move around a little; is it time for another tomorrow, is it time for another yes. It's almost fuck-me-it's-so-hot hot, you can scoop up dust clouds of heat right in front of you. Human beings gum up the walkway with strollers and canes and bikes. Human beings are radiant. They smell strange, but they're radiant. And as long as I keep moving I stay in the picture so I have to jog up and down in place a little to hold onto life. Bone-life. Brain-life. Skin-life. Somewhere I read that you can live five days without water. Your dry brain pulling away from its lining and up like a balloon. It hurts to imagine. When your eyes lose focus, the streets soften into water and you swim.