Inside the walk-in cooler of my father’s
corner store, I take refuge from summer’s heat.
Hiding amongst beer cases and lettuce crates,
I count heads, longing to live
anywhere but here. Later, in my room,
sweat-soaked, I lean into fan’s black blades
whirling, ponder my fate,
transfixed. I grab my globe, twirl it on its axis,
close my eyes, and point. The world stops.
My finger lands on Lisbon, a city I don’t yet know
I will visit one day, where exhausted, jostling
day-workers crowd steep streets, disappear
into bars. Ordering ruby port to quell coughs, cool
thirst, laborers need only lift one finger for more.

Merna Dyer Skinner lives in Portland, OR. Her poems have appeared in numerous US and international print and online journals, and three anthologies. Her chapbook, A Brief History of Two Aprons, was published by Finishing Line Press. Merna has lived in six US states and traveled to six continents.