1.  Compare yourself:
    to the water boiling in the tea kettle,
    the swift upbeats of salsa music,
    the fleece lining in your parka,
    your lips, the first time they were touched.

2.  Compare yourself:
     to the ice cube melting in your orange juice,
     the time your father forgot your birthday,
     the other side of the pillow,
     your voice when you make business calls.

3.  Wait for a mild day.
     Touch your forehead to the earth.

4.  Use your grandfather’s telescope
     to look for Mercury.
     Is it rising?


Aubrey Hirsch’s poems, short stories and essays have appeared in Third Coast, Hobart, The Los Angeles Review and The Minnetonka Review, among many others. She has been a Glimmer Train Finalist and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Aubrey lives with her partner in Colorado Springs, where she is currently at work on a novel with the support of the Daehler Fellowship. About her poem: “How to Take Your Temperature” was spawned from a creative writing exercise I led for a group of young writers in Pittsburgh. There was a list of household items on the blackboard—objects that would usually be overlooked—and the goal was to write a poem that explored one of them in a new way. I chose a thermometer. Of course, in the end the thermometer is left out of the poem completely, but it was the spark that brought this poem to life.