the skytower
it’s a riot of green trees
lawns, bushes, gardens, golf courses
two doors down is a little sidewalk café
with chairs out in the sun

He gratefully takes a seat
while she goes inside to order
she’s tried him out with money
only to find he can’t read
the denominations on the notes
or even keep track of a simple set of coins
he understands the concept
but the reality has flown away

It’s a Saturday afternoon
& the city is still sleepy
he edges under the umbrella
his sunburn is still causing him
a lot of pain
though Annie’s rubbed him with ointment
a couple of times
she performs such tasks with detached efficiency
as if they were so familiar as to hold
no complications
he felt quite bashful at first
then gave in & meekly accepted her ministrations

He thinks of her increasingly
as a kind efficient older sister
there are no photos in her house
so he can’t tell if he resembles her brother
in any way except his helplessness
but it’s not too hard to guess
that’s part of it

For a while, after she sits down

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