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By Mingpei Li From Issue No. 5

My neighbor takes his dog with him on his morning walk, a spaniel puppy whose eyes catch the glimmer of the sidewalk.

I name him Scotty in my mind. I bike past them on my way to work, body inclining toward the sharp turn just there on my right. I say, Morning, Scotty, with the changing shape of my lips.

A field lies next to my bedsit, abandoned cinderblocks guarding against the sweat of ethanol in the constricted, heavy air on a clear June night.

On a clear June night, past the longest day of the year, almost into July, fireworks unfurl in the distance, people are dancing, I imagine, picnics on the banks of the river. It’ll go on all night, I was told.

I stand on a patch of grass, and when I see a shadow move, I think it must be the stray cats, unused to revelry.

It is a hedgehog, and when his spines shoot up as a handful of crinkling shards splash against the sky, I name him Clive and want him to see me.

He doesn’t, and I can’t, I can’t pick him up and put him in my palm, just like Scotty never hears me, just like the shape of my lips is still changing, but no sound comes out.

About Mingpei Li More From Issue No. 5