Thursday, April 09, 2015

August was...

There was a time before copper tubing and compressed air created a cool breath of relief, back when August was a cruel time. Each day we started walking and then we slowed, trudging turned to crawling and slid down the wall to a dragging and wheezing stop. There we would melt, soft as new tar with the occasional flap of a fan, dying moths involuntarily shuddering tattered wings. A slow puddle of bone and flesh and sweat that oozed  toward shade and waited.

Some days, those puddles slid too close and mingled. Some days those pools of man seeped a bit through a floorboard, or trickled into an insect burrow, never to be seen again. When the long shadows pulled over us like blankets, when the cruel eye of the sun turned away from us, we would each re-compose ourselves anew, hoping only to have collected all of our parts.

Against the pillows and under sheets we would wonder with fingers, testing at the known terrains of our human landscape. Something different? A question of a fingernail that seemed too short, a toe a touch too long, our how our hands might look just a bit older. When you were told you had your mother's eyes by a Yankee aunt at Thanksgiving, you would try to hide the shiver, the unsteady shake of your hand. Your mother would studiously avoid looking at anyone.

The old days of August. These are the days of which we dare not speak.

Kristen Gilpin, April 9, 2015

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