103 Degrees

by Olivia Rose Umstead

I have never understood why
people find those winter
months so romantic, when
body heat
is not a want but a need.
It is not intimate to wear men like
baggy sweatshirts.
I will tell you about real intimacy-
It was one of those stick-your-head-in-a-freezer
days. It was hot dogs dripping of Dijon,
khakis dodging chocolate soft serve droplets.
Feet flying down the street, kindled by bodies that became
superhuman when school ended.
It was the whites of eyes churning, gazing up at
Ferris Wheels scraping the sky.
Cokes sipped from straws spiraling in loop de loops,
and Coppertone suffocating nostrils.
We were melting in heat like Popsicles,
swarming with strangers in herds like cattle.
One of those drench-yourself-in-a-lawn
sprinkler-to-stay-alive days,
that first day of summer when the
June beetles scurried
into San Bernardino soil.
And my breath was softer.
Lungs empty at last.
That day, our stripped
sun-soaked skin alone
was hotter than a
car with a broken radiator.
And risking heatwave,
we chose each other still.

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