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80-Degree February

Some people attribute this sudden stroke of heat
to global warming, believe that the circle of feisty gold
pulsing in a sky of blue is punishment from God,
and blame the yellow grass
floating like soggy Corn Pops in greasy puddles
on the semi-Socialist weatherman who announced it
days ago. Two boys slapping a basketball in a driveway
seem to think nothing of this weather. Their eyes
follow the beating of the ball, they focus on the
thump-thump-thump of rubber against sun-baked concrete
that must be so immediate to their ears
as they flood sweat from their pores. After an hour
or so they let the ball roll down the driveway
and onto the street, their neighborhood empty
except for the echos of Selena Gomez and girls
shrieking from a pool party blocks away. Silence. Then:
“I’ve heard Sophia and Michael have had sex,”
the short blond one suddenly bursts out,
swiping sweat from his eyes, sweat
that slants through the air to evaporate
under the hazing heat. The toothpick-like Indian boy
pelts his Nike jacket onto the middle of the driveway
and shrugs, mournfully, maybe thinking of the Netflix
he’s watched with his younger sister. The movies
where the African girl makes love with the Italian man
behind a curtain smeared with nut-scented marula oil
and marries him in a Buddhist temple
with faces shining against kaleidoscope stained glass.
Wishing for love like that! “Yeah, I know,”
Indian boy nearly cries, but passes it off casually,
as casually as he bends to tie his sneakers,
as casually as he laughs they should get ice cream.
But instead of saying ice cream, he seems
to almost say curry and short blond boy
only half-caught the hesitation in his friend’s voice,
so he says he must finish his geometry homework
before his mom pulls up in her wheezing old Ford.
After Indian boy has gone, short blond boy
slouches into his steaming living room to watch cable,
and I can imagine the signal cracking every few seconds—
long after curry-loving Indian boy has left and
long after short blond boy has gone in,
I keep looking out the window from my shaded bedroom,
just looking at the clouds sauntering by. Wishing for snow.
Not because I am afraid of climate change or Socialism
or even eternal damnation,
but because it is always too hot for some people
to understand how cold each February is.

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