It’s hot. It’s hotter than balls. I could fry an egg on the sidewalk. The dogs impersonate rugs draped on sweaty wooden floors. The level of crankitude in my household is rising to dangerous levels. I try not to move.
I might work today on my manuscript in the somewhat air-conditioned upstairs. Or I might lie on the couch and read some poems. Something about the heat kills what little concentration I have. One poem. Lots of spaces between the words. Time to think through the lines. Don’t let any of my limbs touch any other limbs. Too hot. Imagine being in other places.
In light of Sarah W.’s post, and our poem-off, I wanted to find a poem about beer. I thought I had a great one by Dorianne Laux about getting older and drinking beer on her porch. But I couldn’t find it. I seem to have lent out all my Dorianne Laux books because I love her and no one has returned them. Bastards.
Here’s a favorite:
The Shipfitter’s Wife
I loved him most
when he came home from work,
his fingers still curled from fitting pipe,
his denim shirt ringed with sweat,
smelling of salt, the drying weeds
of the ocean. I’d go to where he sat
on the edge of the bed, his forehead
anointed with grease, his cracked hands
jammed between his thighs, and unlace
the steel-toed boots, stroke his ankles
and calves, the pads and bones of his feet.
Then I’d open his clothes and take
the whole day inside me—the ship’s
gray sides, the miles of copper pipe,
the voice of the foreman clanging
off the hull’s silver ribs. Spark of lead
kissing metal. The clamp, the winch,
the white fire of the torch, the whistle,
and the long drive home.
(from Smoke, BOA Editions, 2000)
What are you doing today?