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As Urban as It Gets


I’m riding my bike eastward

on West Sixteenth Street

on a muggy August Monday,

heading to a PT appointment.

Ahead on my right by the curb,

a garbage truck is idling.

The sanitation guys have just

upended a trash can apiece

into the slop in the back

of the truck. A disturbed,

moderately sized rat appears

in midair and flies straight

toward me. This happens too fast

for me to change the trajectory.

Its belly lands on top

of my sandaled right foot

and stays for a full revolution

of the pedal before I can

shake it off. I hear myself scream

EEEEUUUWWW all the way

across Chelsea. I still feel it

on my bare instep, its surprisingly

soft and furry sentience.

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