Aurora Borealis

Despite blistering sunlight heating the room, you shiver. Murphy pulls the disgusting purple sheet up around his naked chest, covers the alien nipples. He shuts his eyes against the blinding sun, eager to stabilize his environment’s general topsy-turviness. Memories pop into his head. A silent lightning bolt striking a live oak tree and splitting the massive trunk in two. He and another boy chasing turtles on a muddy creek bank. The Flatiron Building in a snowstorm. A sailor named Jorge with rust on his pants. Cannoli.

Murphy! Norah? Are you really Norah? Now who else would I be? I don’t know. I am the veritable Norah. Alice. You saying I could be anybody, you? Murphy’s eyes tear up. He dabs at the tears with the corner of the repellant sheet. Well, mister. Norah Alice knows this much. You ain’t standing your sorry ass right in front of me in ten minutes, dressed and ready to sing, this ship’s sailing without you.

Murphy closes his damp eyes and struggles to recall anything about singing or a ship departing. Nothing. Jorge is gone. And the Cannoli. The split oak. The Flatiron. The turtles. Tout. I don’t know, Norah. Course you know. Norah Alice? Remember? Your beloved? We are engaged to be married. Everybody’s here but you. Why ain’t you here? Murphy opens his eyes. The sun has crept up the wall and spotlights a rock concert poster. Jethro Tull. The Warehouse. 1820 Tchopitoulas Street. July 4, 1971. You don’t know where you are,
nor around the rest of summer
will you ever know
where your borealis is.

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