No Sympathy from the Heat by Alyssa May Trifone

In Fort Myers, the weather doesn’t change much.
Despite this, my grandmother will always tell you about the sun,
how it chars your skin red as a valentine. How the birds,
paying no mind to the humidity, will sing throughout
the persistent Florida summers. How even the rain
brings no sympathy from the heat.

Every conversation with my grandmother unravels
into her describing the weather where she is,
and asking me what it’s like back up North.
Is it cold yet? she asks. What do the trees
look like? Tell me again how your father’s
garden is growing.

The day my grandfather died was unreasonably sunny.
She was sitting by his bedside as the cancer in his lungs
and brain leeched the life from the eyes that had loved her
for over 60 years. His breath became its own eulogy
with his fingers still married to hers.

I called her as soon as I heard the news. I was standing
under a picturesque blue sky—how unfair—it should have been
a hurricane. When I asked her how she was, she answered,
but only half to me, as if she were speaking
through fog. The grief in her voice was audible,

Well, dear, I’m looking out the window
at a pond, and I can see an egret
standing in the water. It’s very hot here today,
and the sky is so very blue…

I listened as she described everything
around her that was still there,
and in the background, the birds
sang anyway.




Alyssa May Trifone has been writing since she was 3 years old. She currently manages a coffee shop, where she gets a lot of inspiration from people watching and over-caffeinating. She lives in Connecticut with her fiancé, dog, two cats, two ferrets, and fourteen pet rats.

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