On Heat and the Forecast of Mistakes to Repeat

by: Kimberly Ann Southwick

Summer is cold spread thin, stretched taut
over land and water, unbreakable. She says,

it is cold that goes into heat, always.
Hard ice melts into your drink, and the cold

penetrates; take a sip. Heat, she says
succumbs to a drop in temperature, he is

the weaker of the binaries. They stand by the fire,
wood smoking at their backs and eyes electric

keeping them warm. It is the chill leaving as they draw
stupidly close, arms fastening around waist and neck.

Heat pulls bodies together, the need for lack
for the diffusion of cold, for a new-old kind of loss

and its arrows. The mirror of dew, the saint
of wet grass and dirty knees, the ground beckons,

and her answers are silent, as though she knows

his warmth will regulate, as though his breath
can make her breathe calm. But they are choir magnets,

mouths hot, open, kissing like they just now
remember how to. The cold an afterthought, nearly

extinguished; the fire lilting, shifting, and then left behind.
They trace patterns in the mud to the woods,

nothing cold about love made new.
The distant laws of chemistry class, forgotten:

the impossible way that heat does not
transpose, that you never get warmer,

only less cold, a lesson that loses itself in arms
as temperature transfers through now nude bodies

lit by dim, distant lamps. Insects mourn in hush
on the brink of morning, the crisp hint of blue–

edges that cannot be located. No map will
find two wrapped as one, a solid temperature

shared and therefore not a concern. She says,
that summer is winter spread out, face down,

waiting; the something right about something
chillingly wrong, something destined to repeat

like the rising and setting of the cursed, orange
Pennsylvania sun.