What We Need

We are sun-baked in the sand, hand
in gritty hand, when you ask me,
“What’s your favorite season?”
Expect me to say—Here.

Now. No moment could be better
than this secret summer, with you
my lover. (It took us nine hours
to drive here). Instead, I speak
truth: “It’s winter.” Tell you,

“It’s not this postcard picture
I crave.” I don’t trust heat
that makes sleep uneasy, or words
spoken beneath Florida’s
delirious skies. What we need

is north of here. A season to chill
the bones, to make breath
visible. A time
when promises take shape
in the form of steam.

Photo Credit: Thomas James Caldwell Flickr via Compfight cc



Paula R. Hilton

Paula R. Hilton is a novelist who explores the ways deeply flawed people can still be forces of good in the world. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from the University of New Orleans. Her fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion website, and NPR’s This I Believe, as well as in a number of literary journals, including The Tulane Review, Kalliope, and Ellipsis. Hilton’s debut novel, Little Miss Chaos, received the Kirkus star for books of exceptional merit. The novel was also a short-listed finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and selected as a 2016 Best Indie Teen Read by Kirkus. She lives in Florida with her husband, son, and daughter and is working on Daphne and the Delirious Girls, her second book for young adults.

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