Hot like dog breath.

Hot like fresh bread just pulled from the oven, if instead of the pleasant yeasty smell it came with the aroma of armpits and warm garbage.

Hot like the sauna you accidentally walked into at the gym instead of the showers, except now you can’t figure out the door to get out. And the door you entered from has disappeared and now you’re wandering steamy corridors and wondering how you ended up in a scene from A Cure for Wellness.

So hot an ice cube sliding across skin is the sexiest thing you can imagine, but you’re not sure if you want to be the person or the ice.

Hot like don’t embrace your friends and lovers too tightly, or one of you will end up trying to inconspicuously wipe the other person’s sweat off of yourself.

Not hot like a dryer. Not like a literal flame.

More like the grill that got caught in a sun shower and now the meat is rare and soggy and the coals are still scorching but the smoke blends with steam and flies directly into your face when you bend down to check.

It’s hot like the tempers that flare in the un-air-conditioned homes, in the over-air-conditioned offices, in the subway stations where every train is canceled, in the streets where the people who can’t afford ubers are walking blocks that now seem ten times longer than usual.

Hot like the belly of a beast, but the cute kind that you pet and play with and share cute videos of until eventually it sits on your resting body and falls asleep. For hours. You can’t move. Your legs fall asleep. This is your life now.

It’s hot. So hot you might just jump into that polluted river, splash in that muddy puddle, drink from that rusted fountain.

It’s so hot the boomers forgot to chastise millennials for their cold brew habits.

Right now, anything that starts with the word “cold” sounds like salvation.

Remember this heat when winter swings by again.

Tuck it away in your memory palace for that freezing-biting-cold snowstorm in December.

Then put that snow in your memory palace’s walk-in freezer, where it can stay pristinely crystalline, even as the world melts and burns.

A professional lifelong learner.