every morning i light all six candles and obsessively check the plants. tongue extended, the flame tries to lick the driest leaf but misses every time. is that what you call a ritual? there’s something that makes you hope it’ll catch. the air conditioner coughs out dust and heat all day, and i can never figure out how to fix it. my hair sticks to the back of my neck and the houseflies slide down the walls into sweaty little heaps. once an hour, an exotic bird screams for help from my landlord’s apartment two stories below. i long for the rainforest, too, but i know i’ll never save it. i feel guilty again. what do people do when they’re alone? there are only so many times you can clean your hair off the floor and wonder whether you’re losing too much. there are only so many times you can examine your teeth. do you drink too much coffee and overuse gchat? do you plot a move across the world and choose a window seat you’ll never sit in? do you jump every time a truckdriver takes out his sadness on his horn? i want to escape all the concrete and climb to the bottom of a pool. or plunge my fingers into moss. instead, i’m standing in front of the microwave watching Indian food spin around in stupid circles.