Friday, April 29, 2016

A Poem by Ally Malinenko

No Heat/No Hot Water

There were signs
before the heat and hot water
but we didn't pay attention.
It happened
right before the blizzard
that dumped the second largest
amount of snow in
the history of new york city.

I don't know what the largest amount was.
I don't pay attention to weather.
Or statistics.

But here we were, the apartment
usually so hot slowly going cold
like a dead body.
We piled up the blankets.
You wore a snow cap inside.
We watched movies.
We complained online.
Our friends made suggestions
about what we can do to warm up
wink wink
but no one wants to take
off their clothes when they're freezing
and besides didn't you hear what I said
about no hot water?

You know how long it's been since I showered?

Also these drugs I'm on make sex
seem like a weird alien ritual until I'm actually doing it.

The cat, who is nearly seventeen
or maybe nearly eighteen
I'm not sure because like weather
and the signs of the boiler dying
that's another thing I don't pay attention to,
hasn't moved off the couch in days.

The floor is like ice
and the tea goes cold in minutes
if you don't drink it right away.
We switch to wine instead.

The rest of the building is quiet
and I suspect everyone has fled
this dystopia we're in
except for the one girl in the hall
screaming at the super's wife
telling her that this should have been fixed
because it's been days and days now
I'm not sure how many
because I've stopped paying attention to that too

but I press my ear to our cold door,
see my own breath
and I listen
and you say
Come back to the couch, honey.
Your words crystallizing in the air.

Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The Wanting Bone and How to Be An American (Six Gallery Press) as well as the novel This Is Sarah (Bookfish Books).  She has a poetry collection entitled Better Luck Next Year forthcoming from Low Ghost Press.  She lives in Brooklyn.

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