The sun shines in my eyes through an eye-shaped opening in the mock orange. I tilt my head and watch the London dust drift through the beam.
A juvenile blackbird sits inside the suet feeder, pecking at a ball of fat. A few feet away, the hydrangea’s hallucinatory balls of bloom.
The labored wingbeats of a wood pigeon spooked by my turning of a page, two cabbage white butterflies swirling in its wake.
Under the roar of police helicopters, the weight of the state feels almost literal. Half a block away, a crosswalk chirps: Proceed, insect!
The sound of a broom on flagstones and I flash back to Japan: a monk sweeping in an ancient temple, Sony Walkman headphones over his ears.
Leaves wilt on the buddleia and kerria branches piled in the center of the garden—which is now so much lighter, even with the sun gone in.
A piercing alarm. The faint odor of hot tar. The neighbor’s wisteria has begun to climb into an upstairs window, perhaps to escape the heat.