New York City, August 14, 2016

★★ A pigeon had a hard shine to it, its feathers squeezed down against the heat. That heat was less choking and savage than it had been the day before, but that was a narrow claim to make. At noon the Sheep Meadow looked as if it had been recently blasted free of people, with only a few widely scattered bodies sacrificing themselves to the solar forces in the open grass. On its way downward, the sun encountered a pile of clouds in the west, backlighting them in layers. Gray and purple spread toward the zenith, till the dominant brightness was coming contrarily from the east. An ugly orange glow developed behind the gray, and the hot wind picked up. The two different people in two different places yelling into their telephones were surely just a coincidence. Two dogs stopped to sniff each other at the ends of their leashes, and then a third joined in. Lightning flashed and thunder came late after but loud. The dog-walking people parted ways, and a brown light spread along the bottom of the clouds. A hard gust threw over a milk crate and made the heavy rubber mat protecting a Mercedes bumper flap up and down. A few drops rode the wind. Upstairs there were wet streaks on the windows, and then full rain. People had fled the roof deck across the street, and one of them returned with a big umbrella to retrieve abandoned things. The sun appeared, blurred but distinct, even as the downpour was falling. The river was lost to view and then recovered again.

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