Sunday Poetry Series

A Hot Minute

by Okla Elliott

-for S.P.

What a strange phrase.
We’ll stop by the bar for a hot minute, you say, or:
Talk with me for a hot minute.
As if what I had to say was so burning
a minute’s explosion would release it all.
Or that the seats at our favorite bar were heated
beyond comfort, guaranteeing a brief stop,
not an elongating evening with a friend’s
friends, whom we can’t stand.
As if time itself suffered a feverish longing.
Or after the bar—as the stop signs
blur by like ambulances—
and I’m facedown on your front lawn,
my eyelids flame-red membranes,
you lean over me, coaxing,
and I paw at your breasts like a blinded bear.

[This poem originally appeared in the International Poetry Review]

About Okla Elliott

I am currently an assistant professor at Misericordia University in northeast Pennsylvania. I hold a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Illinois, an MFA in creative writing from Ohio State University, and a legal studies certificate from Purdue University. My work has appeared in Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, The Hill, Huffington Post, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, A Public Space, and Subtropics, as well as being listed as a "notable essay" in Best American Essays 2015. My books include From the Crooked Timber (short fiction), The Cartographer’s Ink (poetry), The Doors You Mark Are Your Own (a coauthored novel), Blackbirds in September: Selected Shorter Poems of Jürgen Becker (translation), and Bernie Sanders: The Essential Guide (nonfiction).
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2 Responses to Sunday Poetry Series

  1. sivanpoetry says:


    This piece has some great moments. I particularly love “As if time itself suffered a feverish longing.” Lovely. And I am so glad you broke the fourth wall and published a piece of your own. Now I can feel free to follow without shame!

    Your Faithful Co-Editor,


    • oklaelliott says:

      Well, I didn’t have anything from someone else (I’ve been trying to reprint work from journals and books by people I’ve solicited), and Matt suggested I just run one of mine. Part of me feels a bit odd about it, but I justify it (if I even need to, which my obsessive neuroticism makes me kinda feel I do) by the fact that the editors at International Poetry Review liked it enough to print first.

      But I am happy I have set the precedent, because I look forward to reading your work.

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