Kyla Guimarares

Kyla Guimaraes is a writer and student from New York City. Her writing has been recognized by the Young Poets Network and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and can be found in The Penn Review, Aster LitBlue Marble Review, and elsewhere. Kyla is a poetry editor at Eucalyptus Lit. In addition to writing, Kyla likes bad puns and going outside in the rain. 


Twitter: @s_nburst

Heat Exhaustion


Afternoon sounds like whalesong 

and tastes like grapes—or maybe 

sounds like grapes and tastes 

like whalesong. It simmers 

against the pavement 

like head lice. I’ll kill it, I swear, 

with shampoo and it’ll stop 

itching. I’ll kill the afternoon. 

I’ll stamp it out. Heat, dulled 

like an ingrown toenail, 

stutters across the horizon, 

which sways against the ground 

as if it's in love. The body is made

low with longing 

and humidity. Fainting and napping 

are the same thing here. Both 

done with the eyes closed. 

Afternoon explodes like vomit. 

Afternoon erodes like a corpse. 

I stand outside in the heat and pluck  

strands of hair from my head, holding

them up to the light until I can see 

the small white nits congealed to each 

strand. Hatching, slowly, into larvae. 

Eating away the body onto which 

they were born. Afternoon feeds me 

with numbers that swim so nicely 

I drink them down and invent 

my own. Here, in my afternoon, 

the temperature never ends, 

there is no such thing as SI base units, 

and gravity is perpetually negative. 

I breathe it into being and then press 

my shoulder into its jaw until it dies. 

That’s right. I kill afternoon 

and my scalp stops itching and the larvae 

fall in clumps from my head. I kill 

afternoon so good that I start to miss

whalesong and grapes. I miss 

being able to love something before

it is buried. I kill the afternoon 

and it kills me back. The heat so full 

that my body forgets 

what living is.

Heat Exhaustion


Afternoon sounds like whalesong 

and tastes like grapes—or maybe 

sounds like grapes and tastes 

like whalesong. It simmers 

against the pavement 

like head lice. I’ll kill it, I swear, 

with shampoo and it’ll stop 

itching. I’ll kill the afternoon. 

I’ll stamp it out. Heat, dulled 

like an ingrown toenail, 

stutters across the horizon, 

which sways against the ground 

as if it's in love. The body is made

low with longing 

and humidity. Fainting and napping 

are the same thing here. Both 

done with the eyes closed. 

Afternoon explodes like vomit. 

Afternoon erodes like a corpse. 

I stand outside in the heat and pluck  

strands of hair from my head, holding

them up to the light until I can see 

the small white nits congealed to each 

strand. Hatching, slowly, into larvae. 

Eating away the body onto which 

they were born. Afternoon feeds me 

with numbers that swim so nicely 

I drink them down and invent 

my own. Here, in my afternoon, 

the temperature never ends, 

there is no such thing as SI base units, 

and gravity is perpetually negative. 

I breathe it into being and then press 

my shoulder into its jaw until it dies. 

That’s right. I kill afternoon 

and my scalp stops itching and the larvae 

fall in clumps from my head. I kill 

afternoon so good that I start to miss

whalesong and grapes. I miss 

being able to love something before

it is buried. I kill the afternoon 

and it kills me back. The heat so full 

that my body forgets 

what living is.

Heat Exhaustion


Afternoon sounds like whalesong 

and tastes like grapes—or maybe 

sounds like grapes and tastes 

like whalesong. It simmers 

against the pavement 

like head lice. I’ll kill it, I swear, 

with shampoo and it’ll stop 

itching. I’ll kill the afternoon. 

I’ll stamp it out. Heat, dulled 

like an ingrown toenail, 

stutters across the horizon, 

which sways against the ground 

as if it's in love. The body is made

low with longing 

and humidity. Fainting and napping 

are the same thing here. Both 

done with the eyes closed. 

Afternoon explodes like vomit. 

Afternoon erodes like a corpse. 

I stand outside in the heat and pluck  

strands of hair from my head, holding

them up to the light until I can see 

the small white nits congealed to each 

strand. Hatching, slowly, into larvae. 

Eating away the body onto which 

they were born. Afternoon feeds me 

with numbers that swim so nicely 

I drink them down and invent 

my own. Here, in my afternoon, 

the temperature never ends, 

there is no such thing as SI base units, 

and gravity is perpetually negative. 

I breathe it into being and then press 

my shoulder into its jaw until it dies. 

That’s right. I kill afternoon 

and my scalp stops itching and the larvae 

fall in clumps from my head. I kill 

afternoon so good that I start to miss

whalesong and grapes. I miss 

being able to love something before

it is buried. I kill the afternoon 

and it kills me back. The heat so full 

that my body forgets 

what living is.

Kyla Guimarares

Kyla Guimaraes is a writer and student from New York City. Her writing has been recognized by the Young Poets Network and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and can be found in The Penn Review, Aster LitBlue Marble Review, and elsewhere. Kyla is a poetry editor at Eucalyptus Lit. In addition to writing, Kyla likes bad puns and going outside in the rain. 

Kyla Guimaraes

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