Brooklyn, July

The long day's force appeared to ease
at nightfall, and you went to bed
by an open window, hoping for
a deep, unbroken sleep. Instead,

three hours later you awake,
cocooned in heat. You roll to check
the time, put up your hand, and feel
sweat's beaded choker round your neck.

Were you to put the light on now
and turn, you'd see your silhouette
still sleeping on the pillowcase,
an image painted with your sweat.

You don't put on the light. You kick
the sheet off, turn the pillow, hear
the gates come down across the street
as the bartender locks the bar.

No hint of moving air. The only
objects moving are the drops
of sweat meandering through your scalp,
seeking to pool as one. Perhaps

the time has come for mastery.
Get up and shut the window, push
the buttons in the dark and feel
the regulated air's onrush?

Resist the urge. Lie still and watch
each number on the clock supplant
the last until, anestheticized,
your brain ignores the heat's affront.

Three hours from now, the light of dawn
will wake you, as a playful breeze
kisses your cheek and then your naked
nipples, belly, thighs, knees.

A sense of peace will float up with
the first cicada's sawing, far
above the traffic's susurration.
We can love the thing we are.

by Reagan Upshaw

Reagan Upshaw is the author of three chapbooks of poetry. His articles and reviews have appeared in Poets & Writers, the San Francisco Chronicle, Bloomsbury Review, Boston Review, and other magazines. He is an art dealer in New York.

Table Of Contents    Next Poem(s)    Guidelines