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Dust turned to mud. Crackle turned pelt. The squeal from summer’s hinges: steady rain.

The city appears to be drenched. It must be. But watching the evening downpour, it felt more a private affair, a small scale display of the things yet to come – the floods, and the cooler nights, the blessed refraction of the sun hitting morning’s gritty dews, the forgotten actions of drier days.

“Do you plan to stay awake,” he asks in a grittier voice, a rich baritone disembodied from his soul, a self-possessed tone which accomplished more in revealing his frightened state than in hiding it.

He kisses my shoulder from behind, pressing his lips upon the thin material of my shirt, almost nipping the seams, almost a prey. There is urgency and feeling in his question, a concrete demand in its implications, a strong and vivid result in its anticipation. Seduction via kiss.

“I like to watch the rain.” A curt reply. An act of defense. A defense more of an act.

“Time to go to bed.”

His hands slip down my own, lingering to feel the rough palms, figuring the lines, foretelling the next second, where I am pulled back to the lair of fortunes. Far from the windows. In the quieter spaces.

The sheets have been smoothened out. The crisp pillow cases have absorbed the near-midnight wafting. The bed, in the absence of my body as I stand beside observing it, is weightless. And yet when my eyes find his own forming the purpose, ready to rest, and in the brief vulnerability of drowsiness, I cannot help but be cooperative: to his embrace, to his warm touch, to his hot chest, to the noise of his pleasures. Until it is impossible to stay away and awake for any longer. Until two words displaces three.

“Good night,” he struggles.

I respond with the gentle combing of his hair, letting my spiny finger stream through the thick russet of the only autumn I’ve known. Before he is gone, a quick glance into his soul: the sweet molasses swirling to unconsciousness. As bright as any star when it catches the light.

Soon, extinguished, Now, a lumbering black hole. Lost again to the day’s end. Cordoned. Covered by lids which I despise. A massive ball of gravity pulling me away from the windows.

Only good night.

Stream turned to river. Cloud turned lightning. The hinges of my own body, creaking, loosening, near breaking. But he comes. And he overcomes. And he cums. And the flashes of love are welcomed in the electrified atmosphere of a summer slipping away, of the brutal love that had scorched for years. A cycle. A return. Perhaps, this time, the hope for fertile plains can be curbed by history’s failed optimism.

Fast asleep. It must only be the rain. It has encouraged sleeping. But why am I still awake?