by Amber Shields
Outside I look through a pair
of dark sunglasses at the sun
behind a stormy cumulonimbus.
The edges of the cloud are tinted rust.
When I take off my shades,
I have to look away.

The oval-shaped shadow steals over me,
And a child begins to cry down the street.
I turn just in time to see the cherry-red balloon
disappear behind the neighbor's roof.
The child's father takes off after it on a bike,
but returns empty-handed.

I walk inside and feel the shiver
of white AC on my freshly tanned skin,
cooling like lake water at midnight.
That night I stand outside
slapping away mosquitoes.
The air is muggy even after dark.

Channel 5 says it will only cool off
if it rains tonight
Channel 11 says no rain
for the next three weeks,
and urges us to follow the watering ban.

 2002 by Amber Shields. All rights reserved.