Summer Solstice

The hedge pods, lime green, hang

in clusters like beans six

to twelve feet above ground. Spindly

shoots swoop-up off gnarled,

woody stocks thick as my forearms.

Insects, unseen, buzz-ring

in my ears unperturbed by the lonely

hound barking nonstop, fenced

a block away. The sun warms

 

my hands, this page, and the shadow

of my dancing pen knows

it will find no solace

on this longest of days.

I don’t believe there’s any significance

to this moment, this necessary

elegy finding its voice in a turning

point of mine, this calibration of

space and time climbing beyond our reach,

but since we are painfully aware

that we are mostly in the dark,

it doesn’t seem fair to bury or bemoan

anyone or anything

on a blue-sky, wispy-cloud day,

cool-breezy, leaf-rattling,

and brimmed-full of birdsong,

the cat squinting then napping

on the lawn as spring passes

the baton to summer. I don’t wonder

 

why the nervous animal paces

in my gut, and I understand the date’s

obvious foreshadowing of what’s ahead,

having nodded off in mid-poem.

I assume it will be alright,

take care of itself in the winter

of our goodnight, that we’ll slip away

easy as sleep, but still, today

is no time to let go of those

we’ve escorted down this spinning

road for as long as we can remember.

At least in December the mood,

the light and temperature are right

for leave taking. This time of year

 

there’s too much to lose. Summer

elegies belong to the ants

carting dried carcasses of honey

bees underground, hauling sticks

or corn chips, whatever they find,

busily catering to the queen,

working and dying in droves to increase

the size of the pile, support

the colony, the empire:

go forth and multiply,

make it pay every trip, every load,

every minute, every day.

Isn’t that the way we do it

under the sun, keep running,

keep going until we’re gone?

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