Afternoons languish like untensed muscles,
like a mind gone slack peering into a screen,
whole days awash in faint light, feint wind,
cloudless blue of old paint, dust-covered.
Time lowers down in the dry grass,
crunches under foot, whispering
softly to mask the speed of its passing.
A crackling hush, a hushed absence.
Warm dry months stretch ahead like waves
glimmering ghostly above the ground,
ocean of air, streaked window of the future.
Tonight’s moon is a waning gibbous,
ever-fading, ever-seeming to retreat.
Orbits break, patterns vanish like ash in water,
vastness and sorrow, oceans of summer,
most ships safely reaching port.
Late summer days scatter like money
after a bubble implodes, stunned people
who thought it would last forever
scramble for all their pockets will hold.
The ship of living sails the ocean of time,
some of us dreaming close to the prow,
others below deck, clutching our bags.
Late summer, as though it has already died.
Mostly we lived in great seclusion, far from
events and people of worldly importance.
When the rains finally came, we soaked up
all we could, we mirrored the leaves,
turning our insides up, downsides out,
stretching through multiple contortions
to nourish our blanched bodies, dry roots,
water, seclusion, turbulent screens of cloud.
We pretended to be sleepwalkers, romantics,
anarchists, realists, anything but what we were,
which we never determined, moving about
with eyes closed and hands at our sides,
hoping to feel something without reaching for it.
Money was the great mystery of our days,
which people gave us freely until they realized
we had no way or plan to give it back.
Every summer unreels like another childhood,
terrors of whispered-about corridors,
passageways through shrouded woodland trails,
night hovering within midday shadows,
undersides of leaves, stones, unfound doors.
Always some haunted tale awaiting the children,
doors into darkness locked behind them.
Somewhere out there an ocean, a wave cresting.
Somewhere awaits a shore, a homeland,
ships have been sailing toward it
for centuries, guided by tremulous captains,
steering their crews within sight of land,
before twists and turns of fate drive them
back out to sea, cruel fate, indifferent hand.
The long fingers of summer evenings close
around the wan throats of summer days.