Heat Gauge & another by BEE LB

The only relief is water. Any form
will do. Bent beneath the steady flow
of a garden hose, gulping greedily.

Wrapping a handful of ice in a towel
to press against your forehead or the crook
of your neck. Diving from the tallest cliff
into water sending chills across your body.

Standing under the beating spray
of the shower. Eyes burning from being
exposed to chlorine for too long.

Sitting at the edge of the rickety dock,
tracing swirls into the water with the tips
of your toes. Any of these will do.

The point is relief.

Full lungs and a sweat-beaten brow.
Closing your eyes and tilting your head
up to bask in what once felt like the first
petals of spring opening, now somewhere
between stifling and surrendering.

Time will catch up to you, don’t worry.

The grass will wilt. The sky will be razed ash,
soot and singe each time you look up. Even
the trees will droop from the heat.

Mania will lace through you

leading wherever the recesses
of your mind decide you must go.
Midnight will rush through you like a fever,

dragging you toward dawn.
You will fill a cooler with ice,
vodka, and strawberry soda.

You’ll trek with anyone headed in the right direction,
break off when you decide right is wrong.
As always, you’ll find your way

to a body of water. Swatting mosquitoes
and dragonflies away. Strip down as much as you can.
Hook a needle through your lip or a line through that of a fish.

Gut and flay, watch a life become nothing
beneath your hands. Look in the eyes of
what you take without squirming.

Then walk away.

if you know where you want to be, why aren’t you there?
to chase the past, look
over your shoulder each morning,
spend the day reaching

for the outline of a memory. if you get in your own way,
do a two-step with yourself until one of you
is where you want to be.

when the sky reaches for you, sink
into the feeling of rain slicking
your skin. everything empties,

why not you? whatever you’re waiting for
could be waiting for you, too. the memory
of your grandma’s raspy whine

hurry up and wait, hurry up
and wait
is waiting for you
in the slog of midday.

hope is waiting for you in every sunrise
you sleep through. everything you’re
waiting for is on the other side of glass.

the world, for one. right outside
your window. birdsong, too.
anything you haven’t touched

will be found on the other side
of your door. bodies will do
what they do; grow, deteriorate,

heal, grow. to hold yourself
back, you must learn
how to tolerate being held.

BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in FOLIO, Roanoke Review, Figure 1, and The Offing, among others. their portfolio can be found at twinbrights.carrd.co