by Neil Shepard
Blustery 25-below, O Walt, I wouldn’t go
And live with animals tonight—
Or anytime soon. How do
They survive in their snowy lairs?
How could I, for that matter, who
Haven’t taken the wild Swedish plunge
Every chilly night to thicken my fur layer
By layer, I who doze by the fire
With the phone to my ear,
Doze the whole new year
Listening to my wife in such weird
Zone-warping tropical heat, naked,
Whispering her desire for 50-below,
If it brings her home. That’s fur
Of a different nature, Walt, layer
Upon layer of love that glows, grows
Over us like a sun-lit coat.
O we are hothouse flowers, Walt,
Naked and limply alive in a narrow
Equatorial band. Otherwise, we die.
Walt, we must make do
With our lovely human hair.