instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Heat

Harry Naar's "Heat" at the NJ State Museum, Feb 22-May 13 with the poem below.

You don't answer a letter that starts
"I should not have let you come,"
that says he already asked another woman
to marry him, the one who was watching
his kids. And their mother did not die
of cancer, as he told you, but jumped
out a window that same year you were
growing up in Jersey, kissing your first.

You do not write, "I know more
from this letter than in six weeks
sweating, legs around you, in the hot
Midwest." You just look up from his words
squiggled on the page like weeds
rising from these dunes. Last summer cools
against a slab of oolitic limestone perched
over a deep quarry pool. You let it drop.

The letter. And it lies open on your mat,
bleached the color of your hair. Your back
to the sun, you sink to the level of these hard,
dry spirals, cones and arcs that once held
boneless feet, stomachs, hungry mouths.
And when you rise you are surprised
to find his words leached backwards
on the breast furthest from your heart.