I awoke with languid limbs, heavy from dreams I was still speaking to.
My head a fog of past particles mixed by confusion and the sound of my son calling.
Winds had battered my window all night
A banshee knocking, beckoning me to come play
To be swept away in endless frozen gusts
I breathe deeply and promise myself I will get him to school, despite the arguing, despite the begging to stay warm and safe in dark blankets.
My gentle, yet strong words cut through his attempts
He finally cracks like ice beneath his boots and agrees to get dressed.
Only three hours late for school.
I sit in the car, warming my hands.
For the first time in sixteen days.
Home again, I dress the dog in his ridiculous coat and force myself into the subzero
The cold hard ground bites back
My face numb
Winter has taken me.
I walk slowly, letting the cold absorb me, watching the puddles, now miniature ponds
The smell of pine and smoke blowing past me.
I walk with a fire inside
An eternal flame of defiance, devotion, disillusion
I envision the burning words I began this new year with
Goodbye to memories that taint my vision, goodbye to dead love lost and long buried, goodbye to fear of failure and exposure.
I am exposed.
Face and hands raw
Like a predator
Like a wolf inside me
Ready to howl with neighborhood dogs paws up on fences
I stop and meet their eyes.
They know this cold,
This heavy gray
I walk with fire burning inside, my charred words resonating,
Hanging by strings
Held tight by ribs
By layers of skin and clothing.
I release my breath, I bare my teeth
I watch this slow release
This air escaping in curls and whispers from my silent, empty throat.
I turn the corner toward home
I turn my back to the bitter cold.
I step inside
My stomach a space of grounding, of intuition and trust.
A new breath of fiery coals.
I feel the heat of my pulse like syllables, traveling down my arms. Sometimes singular syllables, sometimes strings of them forming words my lips don’t dare speak. They leave my hot empty breath and force themselves to the carved space of my collarbone. From there they warm my shoulder sockets, rotating. Crawling like an army of ants inside my flesh, making their way to my wrists entangling themselves with nerve clusters.
It is a flowing heat, never burning, but reminding. Pouring out of my hands like open floodgates, traveling through tributaries in the lines of my palms. Stretching to my fingers, to the delta of heat.
Pulsing, putting those syllables together, forming silent sentences from the hollow within. My fingers do the talking for my weary voice. They carry the responsibility of holding pen to paper, pushing electronic buttons. My words are incubated here, fed and manipulated. The heat rests here. It settles like the sunset. Like each finger holds a single eternal flame.
It’s a slow heat. The kind that pushes you into the earth. A warmth that takes you back decades where summer was endless and each day became a week, where you played until your eyes fell shut, heavy and full of wonder.
A heat that makes languid limbs, stretched like swaying branches. Strawberry lips, blackberry kisses and water that washes over you. Soft and deliberate like a lover’s touch.
Enveloping your pores, cooling hot thighs, toes digging in the sand. Sweat drips thick like honey.
Irresponsible heat that makes you forget what day it is. That forces you to play like a child. The kind of heat that reignites attraction, that brings bodies together, sunkissed skin, sticky and sweet.
A heat that oppresses you, calling you out of walls, climbing in windows, whispering to you in the night…come play, come dance and melt and drip with me…and you obey. Your body saunters. Hot flow. You are a servant of summer.