My poor mother has the flu. She is stuck in bed. I hardly drive to the city, afraid to fuel past road rage. I have my second poetry reading tonight. Excited and less nervous than usual. Some library time and a class to teach. Then a drink with an old friend from Montreal. Oh, it’s so nice outside, a blanket over troubled and corrupted land. The blue sky looks lighter than the yellow mellow of my second home. The cab takes the old road to university; bearable traffic. The illusion of clean air suffices. The muddy water erodes my memories into ripples of tacky radio songs like nothing breaks like the heart. I will stop now and soak in the planted architecture with its pockets of shade and its odd reflections in their tinted black windows.