It’s ungodly early and I’m up to pee. Harmattan is in full effect; grasses are rustling in the Sahara winds outside and the floor is covered in a reddish-brown layer of dust. Given the season’s drift through the continent, the particles clinging to my cracked skin could have originated far away. Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco. Places I’d like to see someday. Places I’d rather be, I think (though only for a moment this time). I finish my business and walk to the sink; ants race across the dusty porcelain basin from the wall to the drain and back again. I start crushing their tiny bodies beneath my fingertips, like an errant God, and realize how similar we are niche wise. Organisms selfishly racing around, productively trying to serve their own ends and always consuming (in another man’s paradise). I turn on the faucet and wash their tiny corpses, and my meditation on them, down. The cool water on my hands feels colder in the night’s dark, lively air; I step into my room feeling chilled and alone. I think of the snow and how frigid it must be at home, how I’ve missed the winter for so long and may not know what to do with it anymore. As if the scarves and socks and jackets I’ve stowed away could never keep me warm again. Fantasy scenes that have kept me afloat on darker days, biking bright Seattle streets, meeting a lover at an independent theatre, reading in Central Park, return real and melancholy: rain floods the pavement, money’s too tight for tickets, lovers and free time are gone. I move my dusty green mosquito net and climb into bed, life’s relentless gravity, whether here or abroad, pressing me into peace symbol sheets. Not quite crushed, like an insect as enormous forces bear down. And then, I’m asleep, my running thoughts escaping into memory.