Poem: “Body Temperature”

Body Temperature

I am cold.

I sit with a blanket wrapped around my legs,
my hands covered in gloves,
my chest wrapped in a sweater,
but I still feel it.
I still feel the chill.
It permeates through me.

I think it comes from the photos;
those images that stare out at me
with unblinking eyes and frozen faces,
smiling at me accusingly.
I see them and frost settles over my skin.
I see them and my fingers ice over.
I see them and winter comes early.

But they say freezing to death can actually be pleasant.
You stop shaking at the end.
You get warm.
You feel your eyes get heavy with sleep.
And then you just drift off into the wind that cooled you.

It’s better than burning:
feeling the fire lick up your legs,
blister your body,
singe your hair.
All the brutal smells and engorged pain.

So I will take the cold.
I will let it seep in.
I will stop fighting it.
I fold my hands in my lap,
I take a deep breath.

And I welcome the numb.


– Saratoga Schaefer, written October 2018

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