Hot and Humid (Written July 6, 2018)

Hot and Humid

She washes out her shirt and hangs it up
to dry,
using a clothespin to fasten the hanger
to the clothesline. With the hot sun

And steady wind it should be dry in an hour,
she hopes,
in time to wear to our friend’s house for supper.
All day she’s been fighting the hot and humid
weather, and fighting me because I do not

Want to run the air conditioner non-stop,
worried
we might overload the electrical circuit and risk
a fire. If you’re trying to kill me, you’re doing
a good job of it, she cries, to which I have

No reply, other than get the air conditioner
set up in the window,
ready to start again. She lies on the bed,
with the fan turned on high, which, as she
rightly complains, does little more than move

The hot air around. She sleeps an hour or so,
then gets up,
wobbly, unsteady on her feet, and tries
one shirt after another, until she finds one
she likes, washes it and hangs it out to dry.

While she showers I get the air conditioner
going again,
though I’m still convinced my worries
about the wiring are well-founded,
for it’s a circuit that includes, in one room,

The air conditioner, the clock radio, the fan,
and the overhead light,
and in a second room the computer, the phone,
and the overhead light. If one of these outlets
or switches dies, they will all die.

There is some comfort knowing we have
a smoke detector,
two fire extinguishers, two easy routes of escape,
front and back, and if we have to, we could
climb out the bedroom window onto

The roof of what we call the mud room
and wait
to be rescued, though perhaps at our age
that’s not a very practicable alternative.

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