Blustery 25-below, O Walt, I wouldn't go
And live with animals tonight—
Or anytime soon. How do
They survive in their snowy lairs?
How could I, for that matter, who
Haven't taken the wild Swedish plunge 
Every chilly night to thicken my fur layer 
By layer, I who doze by the fire 
With the phone to my ear,   
Doze the whole new year
Listening to my wife in such weird 
Zone-warping tropical heat, naked, 
Whispering her desire for 50-below,
If it brings her home. That's fur
Of a different nature, Walt, layer
Upon layer of love that glows, grows
Over us like a sun-lit coat.
O we are hothouse flowers, Walt,
Naked and limply alive in a narrow
Equatorial band. Otherwise, we die.
Walt, we must make do
With our lovely human hair.

Copyright © 2011 by Neil Shepard. Used with permission of the author.