HOT TIME by Juanita Rey

The oatmeal is hot
and outside is going on a hundred
and the tiny lawn
out back of this apartment house
is scorched brown.

The water boiling
sends clouds of searing steam
out of the spout.
So when I finally pour it
on the grains of Instant,
the coffee is hotter than hot.

The email says,
the weather back home is hot too
but there are always the sea-breezes
to temper the humidity.

And my brother writes
that his baseball team is hot
though that’s a whole other kind.
He’s a pitcher.
He likes to brag how he “brings the heat.”

Some guy at work last night
said I was hot.
I ignored him as I always do
when the complements have
what I call dirt on their hands.

When I’m in the fast-food kitchen
shoving chicken after chicken
into the broiler,
I don’t feel that good kind of hot anyhow.
Just sweaty.

Strangely enough,
hot coffee on a hot morning relaxes me,
cools me off in a strange way.
My roommate tells me
that’s just crazy.
and that the heat is getting to me.
But if it’s as hot as this,
what choice does it have.


Juanita Rey is a Dominican poet who has been in this country five years. She has worked many jobs while studying to improve her English. She has been writing for a number of years but only recently have begun to take it seriously. She enjoys reading. Gabriel Garcia Maquez and Toni Morrison are particular favorites.