A Poem By Melissa Stein

Polar Vortex

The air pinned us like a two-ton
duvet. We painted all the walls

blue. We sipped icebergs
to cool down. When it got really bad

we imported San Francisco fog
and tethered it over the pool.

Small benevolent wild creatures
joined us, splaying out their bellies

on the tiles, taxidermied by the heat.
At least we were unpelted. And while

we’d extract our own kidneys
with a dull pair of left-handed scissors

before suffering another body within twenty feet
of our parboiled flesh, the stupefaction

cultivated erotic dreams so robust
and depraved we fell to our knees

in gratitude every newly
unbearable morning.

Melissa Stein is the author of the poetry collection Rough Honey, winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. Her second book will be published by Copper Canyon Press in 2018. She’s a freelance editor in San Francisco.

The Poetry Section is edited by Mark Bibbins.