Bleeding the Radiators

By Patricia M. Locke

I lift the key by the ears
and feel an iron chill.
It is time to bleed
the radiators. The key is
but a square hole
desiring its peg. I put it in,
mouth to metallic tongue,
and it releases the bitter air
from heavy ribs, a sigh
beginning again.

I wait until water
spurts crazily from the valve
like blood from a kid's head
cracked on the radiator
while wrestling his sister.

The heart contracts
because it must and so
I turn the key and move
into another chamber, urging
the house into involuntary circulation.