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En papillote

July 18, 2011

There is a bird perched on the roof of the house to my north. It’s been there, perfectly still, almost twenty minutes now. Without a peep. On day 18 of the heatwave, there’s barely a breeze, but up there, I can see its feathers rumple. I think the sparrow has located the coolest spot in the neighbourhood and nothing, not sunset, not larger birds, not even a nearby staring cat, can make it budge.

Meanwhile, I sit here, thirty feet lower to the ground, wearing almost nothing, just a light blouse and sweat-sodden short-shorts…poaching in my clothing like a fish steaming en papillote. If only I smelled that tasty; instead, I stink like my bikeride home from the office, which I completed in a business suit and heels, and the herbs I mashed between my fingers and added to the salad an hour ago.

My cat is sacked out on the kitchen floor, in the epicentre of a smatter of dirt. Earlier, she burrowed a hole in the garden, not digging to China as I first suspected, rather, seeking cooler soil like a kangaroo at midday.

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