I capsize newspapers in water. I shake myself free of watchwords. I hang balloons on wounded sticks, the balcony gold-latticed on the truant morning, the moon a waxy after-effect smudged like conversation. Music, lavish and omnipresent, squeezes between drachmas and bangles. My deck of cards falls like a waterfall. My mother calls me inside in a voice splintered like a thousand bees on the same mission. Sunlight washes over my soft thighs and knees like a baby’s croons. The fly’s intermittent buzz reminds me of forgotten lessons. Time is a century of turquoise pools facilitating suicide. My first watch is a gift of anxiety. Now seconds count. How long can I hold my breath? Palm trees whip in the wind like runaway children. My mother calls again, from the other side of the moat, unable to tickle my ears. A line of ants, curving like serious S’s, forecasts future earthquake cracks. The dark stairways of my hundred-year-old building steal me like a pasha’s only son, hunting in the garden alone at night, kissed by talented witches. The weight of the building is like ten earthquakes occurring simultaneously in a moment. Yellow and red almirahs unfurl their metal skin for a stolen touch or two, laughing at their open secrets. Each morning is like every other until I split it open, the street is a parade ground for costumed vendors with voices like melons, the smell of boiled potatoes makes me believe no one can ever be sick or poor. I steal time and the world lets me. My mother calls a last time, fanning herself with the lazy newspaper. I ought to be a child detective like in my favorite books, but the tar streets and black palms and drunk pools are too friendly, they all want to pat me, they won’t fight back.