In between taxis on Madison Avenue, the Heat is on you like a Great Dane, licking your calves with a truck exhaust tongue, resting his paws on your shoulders.
At night you sit naked, hunched over the toilet, listening to soap bubbles in the sink crackle like fireworks miles off.
Forget to flush; flakes of paper in the bowl a morning reminder-- a clue. You’ll wonder if somebody else slept on the cool side of the bed,
and go skittering barefoot from the bathroom across the hardwood, run tremulous fingers over soggy duvet, press nose into pillowcase.
What are you snuffling for: a copper curlicue in this electric blue? Snake it up your nostril hoping for whiffs of green curry and green lakes and sweaty teenage pussy.
But it’s been years since that desperate August—the dog days when your sweetheart’s beagle with the Hebrew name and the goiter keeled over by the pool—and who can smell anything but themselves in all this dirty laundry?
The porch has turned to splinters—it smiles gap-toothed at the gloam. The rosebush is a conflagration.
We just sway on the porch swing, chewing fistfuls of cherries, spit the pits on the lawn. Listen to the house moan in heat.
The doors are swollen like mother’s ankles, like uncle’s gut, like big brother’s head.
And the mosquitos have been busy for the rain; air thick with lazy drones so fat they fight to float like old balloons. On your arm,
there’s a bloated sucker, hairy derrick pumping. Don’t talk to me about citronella with your blood sloshing in its belly.
Danny Penny is an MFA candidate at Columbia University. He is the winner of the 2012 Norton Writer's Prize, the 2013 Lorabel Richardson American Academy of Poets Prize, and the 2013 Selden Whitcomb Prize in poetry. His work has appeared in The Rumpus, The New Inquiry, and elsewhere.