It seems that the August air clogs the city’s throat and thickens her tongue. She creaks and moans in a new dialect all her own and no matter how many times over these past few weeks I’ve laid down close and still to her chest to hear, so much is yet unfathomable.

I remember when I once understood her, when I knew my place, or so I thought, and now I’m not so sure. I weave through dark streets while I spin my own summer legend anew, following whatever creature lurks in the shadow, mimicking their skittish dance, feeling for some sense or danger, meaning to clutch feverishly in the fleeting night, a clandestine remedy to my wandering. Nothing.

I know little else I can do to remedy this mounting restlessness. I will often leave my office and try to scale it, pace around in the hot midday with keys jingling in hand and feel as everything around me, once so familiar, dulls, makes herself foreign and closed to me, distant, small. We’ve both changed. I’ve outgrown this. I need to go.

But leaving, the trouble with leaving is it’s so much more than physical. I know those who have left who yet beat their chest while looking over the bridges they’ve burned, I’ve seen people loom and inch and jeer over this town from hundreds, thousands of miles away, haunting. They not gone, not really. They cannot distance themselves far enough from what truly ails them so they come back.

The heat curls at my neck like a possessive spouse, leaving flushed rashes, and I pry his mouth away. The sun rises and wakes me up too early and as I look groggily out my window I make yet another empty promise to start jogging in the AM. I lay in fields under trees and think of the people who I have loved and their wretchedness. The cicadas cry their shrill cacophonous songs in the heat. The simple monotony of another Grand Rapids summer and my inability to really run has softened my resolve yet again.



Writer. Community organizer. Errant punk. Ne’er do well. Fire starter. Email:

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