This poem is taken from Stand 224, 17(4) December 2019 - February 2020.

Mary Gilliland Three Poems
Heat Wave

Left drawer a pool of rubber bands, clips,
staples, tape—tools that anchor small
pieces of circumstance—from the right
swell memos, blank index cards.

A mosquito netter flutters the corner
bewildered in its search for food.
The shelves hold serpentine from California,
hollyhock buds from Delphi, a double sailor’s knot.

There’s much to do and no call to do it,
nothing to breathe or suck, nothing
to despair of, no blade to shave this callus.
Heat keeps things in their place.

Idleness works up defiance, entices
God to sweat—the devil’s fool.
Moist forearms peel the map of the oak desk.
Astrolabe and compass slip their anchors.
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