Hot Enough

By Bonnie Proudfoot

not a spark
but a blaze,
not a welding torch
but a glass furnace
molten and glowing,
heat like an express train
across the tongue
down the throat, not
Chet Baker or Stan Getz,
but Arnett Cobb, Pharoah Saunders
not Ringo but Gene Krupa,
Buddy Rich, a box set
of surprises,
better to surrender.
Hot enough for you?
my neighbor asks.
No, of course not.
Give me ghost peppers,
Carolina reapers,
keep that Frank’s off the table,
kiss with your teeth.


Born in NY, Bonnie Proudfoot moved to WV in 1979, then to Athens in 1996. She was an Associate Professor at Hocking College for two decades, and still teaches part-time for the Department of English at WVU. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, including Women Speak, and I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing. Her novel, Goshen Road, published by OU’s Swallow Press, was selected WCONA’s Book of the Year and long-listed for the 2021 PEN/ Hemingway. Her poetry chapbook, Household Gods, was published in September 2022 by Sheila-Na-Gig.

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