Cooling, Nights with the Box Fan in the Window aren’t Bad

My mother is spooning ice cubes
into her orchid one spoonful
at a time, like sugar
onto a horse’s eely tongue.

My brother has a new job
driving a glassware truck
from Detroit to Toledo.
He’s six-months clean.

The flutes and stems
quake beyond the ten-barrel
hull as if he is hauling livestock
who shift their fragile weight.

My father is out back burning
Japanese beetles
off his grape vines
with a crème brulee torch,

their thoraxes collecting
in the pool-blue kiddie pool
that he straddles
like a butter churner.

I am arranging my clothes
by color; off-white, off-white,
dune, dune, cornflower.

So, I’ll be both dog and pony.
Arrange my convoy of losses like this.

Jane Huffman is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Recent poems have been published in Breakwater Review, Witness, The Common, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She works for Sundress Publications as a staff director and lives and teaches in Iowa City.