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.