We’re surrounded by darkness and opium is in the air – just
breathing it in, the balmy Manhattan night, creates a floating
feeling contrary to dizziness. Backs propped against the asphalt
slant at the edge of the roof, merging into the vast skyline. 46th
Street bustling below, but me and Leila in solitude with the upper
city, lit up and dream-like. To our right, the mighty Empire State
Building, stoic and proud, lit up in neon blue. Ahead the Chrysler
Building, an Art Deco rocket ship, classy and optimistic, a hundred
white-light triangles at the top. And a thousand, ten thousand, sky-
bound cement structures, surrounding us, dark monuments, each
with its own pattern of glowing windows, some so close we can
reach out a hand and touch.
We lean against the edge, the slant of an asphalt lip, but no wall.
We blend into the buildings, the air, the night. Our backs against
the slope, heads leaning back, not caring about the dirty tar,
because we are the tar. Whispering in the blackness: black roof,
black sky, black night. Only seeing her faint outlines in the
darkness, her curves: a slice of cheekbone, a moon of hip, an arc of
Our bodies side by side, heads to the sky, I notice the space
between our legs has faded. I feel the warmth of her leg leaning
against mine and feel opium again, racing from her thick thigh into
my blood stream, and my heart would normally be frenzied with
lust now, but the sky is too big and the city too infinite and it
makes me serene with something slower and deeper than lust and
the heat from her thigh moves into my body and into my arm
which on its own volition wraps around her shoulder and pulls her
in close and meaningless words trickle out of our mouths, but the
words don’t matter, only the sweet tones and soft sounds floating
into the night.
When I get up, I offer my hand and pull her to her feet and she
leans her weight into me as I swat asphalt pebbles off her back and
ass. She clutches the side of my hand and leads me down the stairs
to her florescent-lit apartment, her coffin-sized room, and her
I enjoy the waves of her naked body beneath mine and the soft
kisses on my neck. But it feels strangely spiritless without the city
and the night.
* SKINLESS NIGHT was originally published in Spilling Ink Review.