Sauna, 2036
Dominique Bernier-Cormier

In the house we live in
in this imaginary future, I’ve built a small sauna
in the living room—between the fern
and the therapeutic harp you play to keep
the memories of animals at bay. I wanted
to build a tanning bed with purple lights
that made everyone look like Prince
lying in his velvet coffin, but instead, I snapped
the UV tubes and wrote HELP in neon
across the snowy lawn. Now, we hold each other
in the cedar box like twin fawns
in a womb and take turns pouring water
over the glowing stones until we can’t take
the heat anymore. We try to remember the Finnish
word for steam and where Finland used to
be. We argue over what’s a machine and what’s
not a machine. Is a sauna a machine? Is snow
a machine? Was Prince a machine? Are we just water
pouring machines, the two of us?
In the laundry room, the washer
blinks its row of gorgeous green eyes
at us and announces that a new cycle has begun,
that the door is now locked and the flooding
will soon begin. Dear machine, dear snow,
tell us something we don’t already know.

Dominique Bernier-Cormier's first book of poetry, Correspondent, was published by Goose Lane Editions in 2018 and was nominated for the League of Canadian Poets' Raymond Souster Award. His second book, a bilingual collection of poems, translations and essays, will come out in 2023.

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