Heat Study


Fragile peonies grow

from newfound subdermal magma.

The gentlest wind rustles the petals

into a swarm, rendering mirrors useless.

This heart is a frog,

and God invented both boiling and proverbs.


But what blame can be assigned

for creation, for states of matter?

No, one cannot hate God

for trying to erase the pain of existence.

But Psalm 23 has no effect on me

because yea, as I walk through

the valley of the shadow of death,

I know that He created the valley,

and, in His sovereignty, led me to it.


Yet I will never be Ivan Karamazov—

I am not nearly as selfless.

But I feel that family like a conflagration

in my DNA, something sensual

and blinding and powerful

in the phosphate backbones,

as if a great seal is breaking,

and a temple of a great many known things crumbles.


Here, then, is a list of things I still know: heat

(heat so wet it drowns, heat that speaks lightning,

heat that precludes speech, heat that absolves,

heat that names, heat that covers, heat that tries, heat that severs,

heat like a fat assassin, heat like a bullet train,

heat like a wrecking ball, heat like a eulogy,

heat of demagogues, heat of pantheons,

heat of dust and of nations,

the rhyming heat of body cartography,

the iron heat of inner thighs pressed to cheeks,

the fairy heat of sleeping close to the one you love).


Tell God to remind me that there is heat everywhere,

only less in some places than others.


Cure for Several Ailments, Including Perhaps Loneliness


Let an introvert love you.

She need not be pretty or kind.

She need not even be warm.

She must, however, sing

bioluminescence in moth form, sing

inherence as the wings leave her mouth.


Before or after you make love,

rest your head on her narrow

bare back as she lies there,

head turned away from you.

If you think she hates you,

good—it’s true and it is better

for you.


     You will try to suck the glow

from her lips during the act,

but when you look at yourself stark

naked in the mirror afterward,

you will see your firefly abdomen fade.

The problem is the same as it was

     when you were young:

nothing lives in a jar for long.


When you first feel that you have no more

for her to take, let her keep taking.

When you realize you still have more

for her to take, let her keep taking.

When you again and again feel that you have no more

for her to take, let her keep taking,

until you are always burning a hole

in the floor of you, and you find,

all the way at the bottom,

your own open cocoons.


Cure for Someone Else’s Definition of Masculinity


Approach the glass box inside you

where that atrophied splinter of flesh

remains comatose, sedated by society

or whatever you want to blame.

Knock, and it will wake up like a fish

that has waited its whole life to be fed.

Imagine yourself a swan made of star stuff

as you warm the glass against your body

to melt it and free that part of you, now

dancing into the form of a young girl

(she’ll be eight years old at most;

you’ve stunted her growth so much).

Cut a swath from your blue cloth-walls,

and note how the paint peels to reveal violet.

Make a sundress to the girl’s specifications

(her specifications are, after all, yours),

and study her dancing, the inimitable twirl

of a reawakened galaxy in her skirt frills.

Cut more cloth and make her a bed

so you can tuck her in when she’s done.

Come back the next day and the next (and the next).

Feed her with the hydrogen and deuterium

leaking from the new holes in your cloth-walls.

She’ll burn it all to helium-knowledge. When she’s grown,


fall in love with a bisexual girl.

She need not love you back,

but she must want something from you,

and you must want more than anything

to give it to her. Agree to meet inside you

on a night when the air smells of a beach

on the moon. Do not apologize for the holes

in your walls. Introduce her to the you

that has outgrown her one sundress.

Your lover didn’t know it,

but this is what she wants from you.

Use this room inside you. Use the bed you made.

Use what you learned about making your body

something marvelous, magnanimous, galactic.


Cure for Chronic Childish


You’re gonna carry that weight.

-Cowboy Bebop


Apply to be a colonist on Mars.

In the ten years before you go,

spend as much time as you can underwater.

Get used to knowing you could suffocate at any time.


With the little time you spend on land, feel

the gravity traveling from your scapulae

down your spine into the earthy blades

of your legs, along the twist of sinew

and into the ground. Memorize it.


Try to overcome it on your own

by standing on roofs, climbing mountains,

jumping out of airplanes. (Is it working?)

Try to carry someone else’s weight.

(What about now?) Carry it

for as long as possible. (Now?)


Hahaha. Look how much water it takes

to float even your inconsequential weight.

And during lift off to Mars, appreciate the immense

amount of energy required to help the dust-speck

that is your body escape Earth’s gravity.


This is how you’ll grow up—weightless

and knowing in the fabric of your desmosomes

how incapable you are.)


Ritual to Keep Your Son from Drowning

After Brian Clements


Upon waking up on the day of your escape,

record the nightmare you just had using a

feather from one of the pairs of wings you

have built. It does not matter which pair,

though either way you are permitted to sulk

in the symbolism once the day is done. If

you cannot remember your nightmare, you



Walk out to the edge of the cliff where you

have been imprisoned. Take a deep breath,

see the sun terrorize the horizon, imagine

falling. Masturbate and watch millions of

your sons plummet into the sea.


Wake your son.


This next part is tricky, but since your name

is “clever worker,” it should not be

impossible. Build a time machine. Redo

fatherhood, starting with the night you

conceived your son. Make love to your wife.

Do not think about the physics, the fulcrum,

the friction. Make love to your wife.


When he is born, love your son the way you

loved the labyrinth. This time around,

refrain from building the labyrinth at all. If

you find yourself having to escape from a

prison by flight anyway, make sure you have

given your son ample reason to not soar

toward the sun—that is, love him away from



As he worked at this,

his young son, Icarus, inquisitive,

stood by and—unaware that what he did

involved a thing that would imperil him—

delighted, grabbed the feathers that the wind

tossed, fluttering, about; or he would ply

the blond wax with his thumb; and as he


the boy disturbed his father’s wonder-work.


Ovid, The Metamorphoses, tr. Allen Mandelbaum

Lex Bobrow is a writer fresh out of school living in south Florida. As a result, he writes a lot about hurricanes and citrus fruit, which makes him laugh at how Floridian he is. More than anything–at his core–he wants to be captivating and therefore powerful.


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Cover photo: Allen Forrest https://maudlinhouse.net/allen-forrest