103 degrees, the city’s pavement cooks lovers like us sunny side up. But no one’s smiling. We sweat to forget the heat, sit down on a banged up bench at Van Cortland Park, devouring those dollar mango icies I love so much. We lazily reminisce about our foreclosed childhoods, watching a giddy girl and boy play in grass-stained overalls and clunky sneakers. They fantasize about being us, assigning each other scripted destinies through bossy fingers, yelling–You’re the man. You’re the woman. And we’ll play Love! Inspired, we clutch wet palms and pull each other to the direction of our own playhouse.

We go home. Forget past-due Con Ed bills and put that gray, old fashioned air conditioner on high– teasingly butt-bumping each other to get some one-on-one with its artificial breeze. No use, our bodies keep humming. So we improvise. If anyone’s looking for us, they can follow the trail of musty clothing we peeled off each other with great speed and ‘who-cares-right-now’ precision– the soiled socks, the pit-stained t-shirts, the dingy undies. To my closet of a bathroom, where we let cold tap water hit our bare backs, watching escaped hairs,
soap suds,
and unfinished love poems trickle down to join the liquid chase.
The sun’s kisses are still pressing down on us, kissing dry the little droplets of satisfaction.

So we defy nature. We unzip and slip out of our sandpaper skins, throw them over my black ottomans, and play a sultry Sade track to help us catch the Holy Ghost, dancing tight and slow , whispering, Let’s play Love. A purple aura surrounds our souls and we levitate above the heavy heat. We play nude patti-cake in the lavender phenomenon; our limbs finally fuse into each other. We hope our game can continue to the moon. Before we know it, we’re flirting with the dusty ceiling, tapping our translucent toes to the last notes of the tune we left playing. The aura dims and we begin descend down,  
And zig-
back to the gas oven of a Bronx apartment. I cannot help to perspire you and
you perspire me. We don‘t give each other destined locations. You can sleep in my body and I sleep in yours.

by Karina Billini

I am currently a Drama Specialist and Literature Arts instructor for Harlem Center for Education in New York City. I graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a B.A. in playwriting. My poetry has been published in the Marymount Manhattan Review, along with other literary magazines. My poetry has won honorable recognition in the national Random House Creative Writing Competition and my theatrical works have received numerous honors from the Young Playwrights of New York City.

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