Summer in New York
Published in

Summer in New York


“His name was Spike. He died last year. In a house fire.”

She sighs into her chair, adjusting her purse on her empty table as she looks down Ludlow. I want to ask what happened, where, how, but I don’t. One of the tricks trauma plays, a friend once said, is that it forces you to relive it.

Instead, images from the latest Bronx fire flash through my mind. 17 people dead. Eight children. Maybe their dogs, puppies, kittens. Maybe Spike.

My own 11-week-old poodle sniffs the woman’s black and white Dunks. Ice from the Mexican restaurant melts in their stainless steel doggy bowl. It’s the hottest day of the summer, so hot the AC above the counter was blowing warm air when I ordered.

“Hi mama.” The woman reaches down and says again how much my puppy looks like hers.

“You want to hold her?”

She gasps, then lifts Auburn onto her lap.

She talks about Spike as Auburn sniffs her braids, beige t-shirt, compression shorts. He was a small bichon frisé. Almost ten years. Black like Auburn, who nibbles her fingers, climbs on her shoulder, rests her chin across the woman’s bare arm.

She carefully hands her back. “You’ve warmed my heart, mama.” The doggy bowl ice has melted. Auburn laps up the water as the woman says goodbye. She turns to leave and we both watch her walk up Ludlow.



Short stories about nature and New York from the summer of 2022.

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benje williams

“it is common to take a dog for a walk, it is less common to take a dream for a walk” || nature novel in progress || recent writing at