We have the kind of heat
in our old tenement inspired by slumlords
of the immigrant poor’s memory. The kind
that clanks its way into oblivion
degrees, makes your nostrils beg
for saline, makes rice paper blinds
above the radiator blow in the breeze.
The window is shut.
Nora, the subletting French exchange
student helping to gentrify the 4th
floor, knocked on my door last night
just 5 minutes after a fantastic crash
shook the dust out of the drywall.
I need help, it fell, I cannot.
In her living room, I laughed. They don’t
have air conditioners in France. Our heat was
too much for Nora, she opened the
window. The A/C dangled outside by its
circuit-breaking cord, like an anvil,
like a grand piano.
We hauled it in.
I showed her: this is how you close
the heat down in our building.