The sun came out and everything looked brand new. The azaleas were blooming bright red and pink, salmon and purple. Their shades always just a little bit off. The heat settled in, moss on a rock. People weren’t used to it anymore. They wore sweaters to work in the morning and by noon were rolling up their sleeves and wiggling their toes in heavy socks. Everyone was uncomfortable with the heat, though they welcomed it. A cold had been going around. A lung-based cold. Lots of uncontrollable coughing. Later in the day, the sky darkened and people wondered what was to come. The sky. The sky. What do birds do in a tornado? How do they escape? Or do they? Is it their rapture? Are they carried up? Are they thrown down? Oh birds, what do you do? How do you escape? Where can you go, birds? Where? Please come back and we will protect you. We will find a place where you are safe.

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