Heat Flow Press flannel-covered thighs against paint-flaked corrugations, elderly radiator pulsing, hissing, unforced steam clanking its way up and out. Place clothes along scalded ridges, delaying that moment of pointed pleasure, like draping towels dryer -fresh over bare arms, remembered shock of hot fabric's embrace (ancient comfort of heat). Push naked legs against a husband's tensile thighs, prehensile toes that pluck objects up with easy grace, caress and press skin and bones (animal comfort of heat). Pretend to forget what should stay trapped blue-deep in ice, chip-edged, parts whose throb will not stay buried, will beat and beat their way through, no matter what we do to keep them in the dark, keep them cold. heat flow: the outward flow of heat from the earth's interior to the surface
Confining Pressure Deep within barren rock, your truths lie buried, striated strands of dimming light layer upon pressured layer, uncountable nights together, desert-brushed pastels, dried gold-rose life to which you belong, enfolding, holding you pressed up against wavering stone edges bleached and blurred to comfort that delude, do not deceive, cannot be breached: ambient patterns of your choosing you will never choose to whittle yourself free. confining pressure: ambient pressure equal in all directions, imposed by the surrounding rocks, all of which are under pressure from other rocks above.
Hips At twelve you already knew why you were an atheist. I was certain of nothing but that I'd gone months without a boy for a friend and wanted it back, the uncomplicated mystery when holding hands was just a lovely place to put your fingers. The year you were twelve and I one year older, nothing was easier or more joyful than lying beside you in the field behind our houses, warmth on closed eyelids, clouds silent and slow, and at night there was walking your dog, her pale hips lighting our way.
Ring of Salt It's just chicken with a ring of salt, she wrote, later sent an image of a carcass surrounded by a mountain range of silvery grains and I thought, But why? What earthly purpose would it serve other than to make food unbearable and ward off all beings come to wreak havoc or spread light? Why else deposit salt mounds round? Guardian angels or warden officials, the way the Andes Mountains ringed the city where I grew up. No one passed the threshold of their eternal vigil. I remained intact.
Carole Greenfield grew up in Colombia and lives in New England, where she teaches multilingual learners at a public elementary school. Her work has appeared in such places as Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Amethyst Review, Humana Obscura and Dodging the Rain.