Do I have air conditioning, they ask,
those kind souls who concern themselves
about an elder living all alone.
They check by phone, or else they’d see
and know the sad condition of our air,
the panting dog, the wilted cat, and me.
I’m quite okay, I say, but isn’t this
heat horrible! It’s the humidity, they say,
and soon we’re all back to our own
miserabilities. How shall we breathe in air
oppressive as a giant leaden ceiling hanging
low but just above us, threatening to crush?
I feel quite lucky for the presence
of a plugged-in, oscillating fan
creating breezes, phony yet exhilarating
as the constant waving of great palm fronds
by devoted slaves. Lucky to stay still
here, in my favorite chair, nursing theories
of irreversibility, thermodynamics,
chaos, energy dispersal, entropy, disorder
and, of course, a nice, cold G & T.
Air is conditioned in so many ways.
This room’s heat is giving up
some of itself to tepify the breeze
as ice gives of its own to cool things off.
Ice cubes melt. The room stays hot.
My drink sweats, growing warmer,
weaker all the time. The only zest
lives in a lonely, floating wedge of lime.