New York in high July, one boiling night,
We shimmy through the crowds of sweat and smoke.
The ground will cook our rubber sandal-treads
So we keep moving, past the neon words,
Halal trucks, and the stairway to the tracks.
It’s ten and we are twenty and content
(And she’s the kind of friend that makes you drunk
Without a drop). We scream to hear ourselves
Above it all and reach the spot at last.
The line is long and there’s no room inside
But we just cram in, press against a mass
Of other people just like us. We take
Our dripping slices toward the screaming street
And eat along the sidewalk, licking fingers.
She picks the pepperoni off, I shake
Some chili flakes on mine. The paper plates
Are flimsy guards against the countertop,
The filth, but we don’t mind—this tastes like life.
Elizabeth Vogt is a junior from Washington, D.C. studying creative writing and history. She does her best singing in the car and her best thinking right as she’s about to fall asleep.