The lazy days of Summer are truly with us in the Northern Hemisphere. Hot days punctuated by storms can't slow the pool-ward migration of recent high school graduates enjoying their last months of freedom. Outside my window, branches of the mulberry tree hang almost to the ground, pendulous with swollen red treasure, conjuring up visions of high school days long ago. Here, then, is our tribute to high school graduates of old, our July Poem of the Month:
Poem of the Month
Each month Ancient Eagle Press offers a poem appropriate to the season or the mood of our editorial staff. Poems may be new or drawn from existing AEP editions.
River of goodness rolling down my chin,
Summer mulberries picked from the tree,
Juice overflowing my lips,
Sweet, warm and sloppy,
Like eager high school kisses
Explored in the back seat of a '47 Dodge
Big as the living room sofa, parked at the drive-in;
An earlier age, and innocent,
Before the drive-in died, its flesh peeling away.
Yet its bones remain, forty years on,
Standing vigil over memories
And mute speaker-posts assembled,
Rank and file waiting silently for the silent sermon
From the empty pulpit, while the coffers fill
With tumbleweed and plastic bags.
The squirrel chatters from high in the tree,
Pulling me back as he warily steals mulberries,
His eyes never straying from me.
The catbird, discovering this bounty,
Calls her fledglings for a lesson in forage;
Wren and nuthatch sample and move on,
Chickadees, ever curious, pay homage but do not linger;
Blue jay watches, eyeing my prize,
But today I am the alpha consumer.
The low-hanging fruit is mine and I gorge myself,
A harmless indulgence, and rare,
Like those sweet, sloppy high school kisses,
Shared at a forgotten drive-in,
On half-moon summer nights so long ago.
by Lee Alloway
from "Swatting Gnats" (2014)
Ancient Eagle Press
Where Old Fliers Come to Roost