Elizabeth Robinson

WARMTH SIMILE

 

Like reverie whose temperature

raises itself slowly, like a huff of

breath in the air reabsorbed to the air.


Like a hand on a chest that raises the

dream with the chest, breath like breadth,

like increments that add up to a fever


and yet are unlike fever. Like yeast

in its own reverie, rubbing cell against

cell as a replacement for heat. Rising


like heat, then breath like bread, like

the dream quickly cooling, and the tongue

brought to the skin to warm it again, likeness


as a homonym, a warmth hurrying to itself,

a tongue replacing spit with heat, heat with

salt as much as heat lays heavy on the chest, like


breast of course. Of course like that. Like a breast

heating the heart that struggles below it, like

a dream made better than itself, less direct, more


like languor, the warm distraction that never

compares itself to fire yet likens itself to something

that increases. Like a thermometer surrounded by

cheek, lip, and tongue. Like butter on bread. Like


the hand that is on the chest that is on the breast, like

so. Likening on and on. Like a reverie whose

pieces suddenly replace themselves with parts that


join, then part from themselves. Like finding

the temperature when it had been lost, puffed

into the night air at the moment when night
 

is most like day, most like the reclining figure

it is, steadied under the warming hand that

holds it like it likes. Like it lessens the


cool to make a breach for the hot, but not

like anything hot, not any heat, just

any heat, like a scent that remembers


being absorbed into reverie. Like a warmth-trance,

like flavor under the tongue, like the

pocket under the blanket where the body

was, a figure raising itself instead of its heat.

 

 


ELIZABETH ROBINSON is the author of the forthcoming collection Rumor from Free Verse Editions. With Jennifer Phelps, she co-edited Quo Anima: innovation and spirituality in contemporary women’s poetry (University of Akron Press), is forthcoming.


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