The February Feels Likes

A more accurate assessment than the wind chill, the feels like temperature is what it feels like to an average adult walking outside in the shade. It is determined using a complicated formula based on humidity, wind speed, time of year, and type of ground cover. Normally the feels like temperature is measured in degrees but during the month of February I found it to be more effective to describe it with words.

Today it feels like . . .

a winter wonderland || I’m the only one not in a car || victory || the inside of an ice cube || the wind can’t make up its mind || more snow might be coming || it’s colder than it is || a different world emptied of others || someone drained the color out of the landscape || no fun || it’s a path for snowshoes not running shoes || it’s warmer than it is || spring is in the next room || freedom || hushshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshsh || I could run for another hour || this snow will stay forever || a strange dream || one too many shirts || I can finally get over myself || a good day to see David Lee Roth biking by || I hit the wrong button || harder to speak than to write || my shadow is giving me advice || my dead mom is here || sharp and crisp and brittle || it’s familiar even when it isn’t || floating, a ghost haunting the gorge || too much || I can finally unclench my jaw || I am capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason || I need some darkly hopeful poems || the birds are determined to make spring happen || the breath should be a poet’s central concern || everything is sepia toned, stuck inside our version of the past || I’m running up a big hill, into the sun || I should have listened to my body, especially my knee, when it told me not to run || it’s not a day to take the birds for granted ||

the actual
is the same as
the feels like
no similes
no metaphors no
only the IS
the IT
the THIS.
Can that be
done? What
is meaning
without metaphor?

the process

This poem builds off of my feels like project from February 2019. During that month, I tried to record a feels like description for as many days as possible. For this expanded project, I read through all of my February entries from 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 and picked out phrases or descriptions that I wanted to use. I printed them out, cut them into strips, then arranged them on my desk. Finally I shaped them into a poem.

The February Feels Likes, a cento

Today it feels like . . . Everything is cold and nothing is totally frozen
Today it feels like . . . An enormous morning, ponderous, meticulous
Today it feels like . . . A better view
Today it feels like . . . I will push a window up and step inside
Today it feels like . . . The winter-deep, the annual sink
Today it feels like . . . Memory—died
Today it feels like . . . I could be clearer, say more
Today it feels like . . . I don’t know what happens to us
Today it feels like . . . An atom bomb right in the eye
Today it feels like . . . There was another possible outcome
Today it feels like . . . Forgiveness
Today it feels like . . . A sudden strangeness
Today it feels like . . . Three large rabbit-breaths of air
Today it feels like . . . Another circle is growing in the expanding ring
Today it feels like . . . I will sing a song that makes the bees proud
Today it feels like . . . They just stand there, looking like they look
Today it feels like . . . A threshold, an arch of entering and leaving
Today it feels like . . . The cold grows colder, even as the days grow longer
Today it feels like . . . hope’s a reptile waiting for the sun
Today it feels like . . . Soon enough
Today it feels like . . . A spring morning in childhood somewhere in the woods

the process

This poem was written using lines from poems I gathered in February 2019 and February 2020.