7 Poems To Get You Through The Last Days Of Summer

Though some news sources claim the heat wave is behind us, it's summer — AKA, you can never be sure. Frankly, August is all about those sneaky switch-ups that leave you reeling: beach day one minute, school day the next. Of course it's bound to be hot. What better relief for the swelter than poems?

Believe it or not, lots of smart people believe in battling hot with hot. In an article for NPR's The Salt, Joe Palca talks about the science of cooling down (you know, on a hot day) with a warm beverage. Palca writes, "When the brain gets the message "It's hot in here," it turns on the mechanism we have to cool ourselves off: sweating." So, fine, I don't have hard science to back up reading hot poems when it's steamy outside, but ... well, that's beside the point. Reading does help you get outside of yourself, which can be really, really nice when "yourself" feels like a human sauna.

If you're looking to take a break from all that clothes-sticking-to-you, water-not-doing-a-bit-of-good, AC-not-getting-cold-enough-fast-enough, you're in luck. These 7 poems are all kinds of off the thermometer, guaranteed to provide cool, quenching relief when the weather's sticky.

"I Do" by Sjohnna McCray

Giphy
Body chemistry changes like the color
of my skin: from yellow to sienna.
My sister says, it’s a dry heat.

Click here to read.

"Sweat" by Sandra Alcosser

Giphy
Babies have been conceived on sweat alone—
the buttery scent of a woman’s breast,
the cumin of a man.

Click here to read.

"Dear Corporation" by Adam Fell

Giphy
we can only cleanse our
bodies so much before we
realize it’s not our bodies that
need detoxing.

Click here to read.

"Muse, a Lady Cautioning" by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Giphy
Yes, these predictable fifths. O, the blues
is all about slinging those low tales out
the back door (sing: child pried open on that
stained floor).

Click here to read.

"Fat Southern Men in Summer Suits" by Liam Rector

Giphy
Fat Southern men in their summer suits,
Usually with suspenders, love to sweat
Into and even through their coats,
Taking it as a matter of honor to do so,
Especially when the humidity gets as close
As it does each Southern summer.

Click here to read.

"Kissing in Vietnamese" by Ocean Vuong

Giphy
My grandmother kisses as if history
never ended

Click here to read.

"Emergency Haying" by Hayden Carruth

Giphy
a full new-risen moon like a pale
medallion hangs in a lavender cloud
beyond the barn. My eyes
sting with sweat and loveliness.

Click here to read.