the heat swarmed in our old apartment.
each room, little toaster ovens.
i peeled off my clothes behind my door.
me: a rack of roasting ribs. 
the neighbors had the only thermometer 
so we baked at their will. 
i wondered what kind of air they craved.
did they miss july? did they 
boil water to furnish the ceiling
with clouds? were we just 
less imaginative? heat is always
artificial. dried our skin to paper.
vitamin e lotion on the kitchen counter.
i miss that place despite its clear discomforts.
am i doomed to a life of retrospective longing?
maybe that is just what it means
to be a poet. the heat made me want to 
peel off my body. the heat painted me 
star-eyed & languid. the heat 
scooped my eyes from my skull.
harvest my tongue. cooked my bones.
i opened the windows 
& let cool january swing in.
one night, before you came home,
i had the apartment to myself
& i was a ghost in the hallway.
sweat crowned my forehead. i walked
an inch above the ground. all tropical 
in my swelter. i did yoga 
with your yoga mat in the living room
& dreamed of spring 
when the church up the street 
would plant daffodils again. 
the cool air was only a ribbon.
just enough. the sound of the train
moaned, reminding me 
of geography's loud permanence
& my own transience.

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