Phoenix Summer 2023

My feet are burning like sausage in a skillet
with eggs, sunny side up,
I poured my coffee early, but I can’t enjoy the aroma or warmth,
so I let it grow cold in the cup,
And I swear I left the central air on all night,
but I sweat in the bed and three times woke up.
My dogs howled in agony over and over,
like a record that got stuck,
Until I gave them ice, and they finally fell asleep.
My God, what a week!

(Yes, stop to read this verse again. Then repeat.)

I am tracking the temp like it’s diabetic sugar
hoping to catch a break,
But it hovers over 110 like a helicopter Fahrenheit.
I keep checking, but there’s no mistake.
It’s going to hover up high ‘til I boil and die,
‘til I stick a needle in my eye
Like one of those sidewalk sky talkers—
No, not Luke Skywalker—
I’m talking about the crazy ones who yell into the air.
I wonder if the heat put them there.

(I just know it did! For the sake of redundancy, read again. Repeat.)

So I resolve in myself that the sun will show no mercy—
it’s hell-bent on setting a new trend,
As though it wants to break a brutal record,
As though competing in a galactic Olympic event,
But I don’t like those records to fall, and I just want an HVAC to handle it all,
and I don’t care if past folks lived without a cool room,
without misting or spritzing or moisturizing tools.
I admire that they lived a life of subsistence,
But no, this is about my existence, not self-importance,
because there’s an imbalance in the bigger scheme
I can’t cry. My sockets are dry.
And I can’t even smile, because my lips are melted against my teeth.
My God, what a week!

(Not that I am smiling or want to. Just to be clear. The end.)

About the Poem

I am living in Phoenix. There’s a heatwave. I know it is global warming. I just know it! But my innards are a hot mess, and I can’t write a poem to save the world because my brain is very hot right now. I mean, 100+ degrees at 2 am? I looked online to see if I could purchase enough coolant from Amazon to get through this, but there were regulations preventing it. So, here I am, all hot and bothered. I know eventually it will end, but 5 minutes ago was too late!

About the Author

Dale Hensarling is a very hot artist, author, and musician living in hot Phoenix, Arizona, where he is hot. He lives there, in the hot, with his hot wife and hot puppies and a parrot named Pongo, who is also very hot. They are surviving on the few popsicles they could gather before the sun melted them all with its hotness. Dale is about to start teaching math, science, and creative writing in a Phoenix school with other hot teachers. He is wishing for a great experience in their new AC!

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