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May 12, 2015 | Poetry

Summer (again)

Joseph Anderson

Summer (again) photo

I am lying awake on a train remembering how the blue jean jumpers seemed to fly off of our bodies and how our bodies seemed to fly into the bible black waters.

             I am remembering it wrong but do not care.

In this re-remembering it is late but we took the batteries out of our parent's electronic grandfather clocks and took the light bulbs out of the chandeliers just for fun.
They (our parents) are underneath sheets of corduroy and cotton.
Outside we are naked, and I notice the skin between your ear and your hairline for the first time. It becomes my favorite part of you before becoming the only part of you.

In this re-remembering it is the day after the Iraq war has ended and we celebrate with vegan cookies underneath a tree. Before becoming the tree.

                                    In previous versions the tree reveals itself to be a bird and flies away with our cookies but I
                                    am prepared and in this version he remains just a tree.

We shed the names we are given
and lay on splintery floor boards.
            (In this remembering you don't complain that I always make the floorboards splintery and I don't get mad
            and start sanding them down then and there).

It is late and the grandfather clocks find their batteries and put them back in, though not knowing this, we outside, climb down the rope ladder or the swing, (the rope ladder or the swing), the rope ladder and run towards the water again.

The hushed and low sound      of your breath, and the rustle of you
                                    eating cheerios while you thought
            I was dreaming.

Towards the water again, the blue jean jumpers on the rocks of the shore. Small fishes bite our legs and we swear we can feel when the other is bit though we know we can't.

I lose control for just a second and the water becomes a field unfolding, (you turn and ask why does everything always have to be unfolding) and you are right of course but it is late and the grandfather clocks notice the lightbulbs missing from the chandeliers and grow angry. They were on their way  to the kitchen for a midnight snack and grow even angrier when they find you've taken the cheerios.

You tell me how a boy bruised your eye and fattened your lip when you came on to him. In this remembering I forget that I hate the phrase came on to him and forget that I mean to change it to something like “turned to him.”
                                                                                    Though we know we can't.
            I was dreaming.

It is late and the names we are given won't leave us. I am lying awake on a train. You thought we were eating grapes in the rain. Counting the springs of your trampoline, we were eating grapes in the rain only because cheerios in the rain, don't work. The rustle of a war we were born into, counting the springs of your trampoline—We tell each other it will hold our weight forever. We tell ourselves it will never end.

I leave the train and walk to a spot that always reminds me of you. I see a homeless man crying underneath the absence of a sunflower and wonder if I will leave this in. I decide I will.

image: Aaron Burch


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