August

When I lived in Austin, I moved several times. Always in July or August. Hot and muggy and horrible for hauling heavy stuff from house to truck to house again. When I left there I settled into a house. I’ve been here 14 years now. Yet every August, I feel as if I should pack up and move. It’s the time of year to do the heat stroke boogie.

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The Road

The road came to a T. I stopped at the stop sign. The voice from my phone told me to turn east. I looked in every direction for a clue to help me figure out which way was east. Did the sun help? Could I see mountains in the distance? What about shadows? Would they help? Finally I turned right. When my phone started squawking, “Recalibrating,” I realized I hadn’t picked east at all.

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The Peaches

The peaches cling
Stubbornly
To their pits.

Their skins pocked
And picked
By birds and ants.

They fill a bowl
Higher
Higher,

Until the
Peachy goodness
Mounts to pie level.

Get the sugar
Make a crust
Bake it up.

Yum.

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I Forgot

I forgot the soothing sound of your voice. I forgot the soft curls in your hair. I forgot the smooth silk of your forearms. I forgot the little mole under your right earlobe. I forgot the exact color of your eyes when the sky is blue behind you. I forgot the bright crescent of your smile in the dark oval of your face. It’s easy to go on because I forgot everything about you.

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A Bowl of Cherries

Cherries

Uncle Bill must have had big plans for those cherries. When he heard that I’d been climbing the cherry tree in the back yard eating up the cherries he was most unhappy with me. You can’t give back a juicy, sweet cherry once you’ve eaten it. But, really, those particular cherries – illegally seized right from the tree – were the best dang cherries I ever ate.

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With a K

The street Malcolm searched for should have been spelled with a K. He would never get used to Slavic language phonetics. He found the oddly spelled street in question. It was many more blocks of walking to locate the correct number. He stood outside the door for a long time. His threadbare coat was barely adequate for the cold. It began to snow. Finally, he knocked. The man who opened the door looked . . .

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Summer Holidays

Fireworks 3

Our first summer,
Do you remember that one?
We lived down by the river
And caught fish for the 4th?
Remember that old tub
We filled with ice and watermelon?
We put a blanket on the grass
And watched the fireworks.
We chased grasshoppers in
The weeds behind the house.
When everyone was gone and
The night was quiet
We lay on the blanket all night long,
Just the two of us
In love.

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No Loitering

Jan parted the curtains a tiny slit and looked at the man in the hoodie. He stood under a No Loitering sign on a street light pole. It was his 3rd day standing in that spot. She appreciated the irony.

Jan tested him yesterday by walking to the bodega. He followed.

Today she had other plans. She locked her door and headed for the roof.

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Golden

I remember meeting her. She was a bubble of golden light, bouncing around my friend’s home. She was there as a ‘Girl Friday’ doing various chores and errands for my sick friend. She sang, she smiled, she was cheerful. She was the best medicine a sick person could have in her home.

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That Laugh

I could hear that laugh in my office, which was across the hall and down two doors from his office. Loud, braying, and annoying was that laugh. It got worse late in the afternoon when he took a Valium. You could always tell when he took his Valium. At least I could close my office door. It was hilarious how many office doors closed late in the afternoon.

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