The Problem of Heat
Pale puffs of fog
from long-ago cigarettes
Luckies, Pall Malls
What's left when a cigarette
burns to nothing but a stub
red lipstick on thin paper
a silver tray of ash.
Parked at the bluffs, window down
as far as it will go halfway and not enough
to sweep out heat trapped inside--
you wouldn't think that a problem
on the foggy north coast
Ice-plant a thick smothering mat
spills down the sand headlands
Cold and foamy ocean gorges
on what's left, gnaws
tunnels and blowholes steady
waves of there-ness a reassurance--
To know even as the sea ebbs
its slam-back comes on schedule.
Grateful for a steady truck
even as its aging body shreds itself
steel bumper rotting in sea air
flaking rust, we together in this.
END the sign screwed to a thin pole
leaning away from its imminent fall
as if crawling up that eroded edge
to a wavering mirage of dates and camels.
Ocean churns below, bowled stones
grumbling, tumbled tight.
Shedding rounds of heat,
they settle into cold.
Henri Bensussen serves on the board of the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, and manages its blog (blog.mcwc.org), is a Colrain Conference survivor, and has a B.A. in Biology. She writes humorous stories and tragic poetry that seems to turn out humorous anyway. Her chapbook, "Earning Colors" was published this year by Finishing Line Press, is a collection of 21 poems whose subjects range from being lost in Chicago to the dark side of love affairs. They are contemporary, and written from a place of truth. Her poems have been published in So to Speak, Sinister Wisdom, Blue Mesa Review, and other journals.