Author’s Note: Summer has always seemed like a fever dream to me, wondrous and not quite real. Here are three summer poems, one from Minnesota and two from Australia, where I lived for five months in 2017.
The plains rise to meet us as we drive
north along the river, which crawls
back into the womb of its source.
All day the river shrinks.
Soon the world is nothing but this road,
and sky arching over a flat land.
Our windows sweat.
Heat radiates up from the skin
over which our tires skim.
The long day swallows itself.
Night seeps in, a memory
of the river’s old, forgotten strength.
Caught in the palm of something vast and still,
our headlights shine into emptiness ahead
and silence drowns our thoughts of home.
Waking in Summer
Golden eyes in a blue dawn.
That’s how it feels to wake
this early in a dry summer
of eerie trees.
It’s as if the rain had left us
behind, blown off down the coast,
where rocks and wind swirl
into mist, and islands suddenly appear.
I dreamed I sailed beyond
the wide river, down into the sea,
where women with the bodies of birds
sang as night came on.
I listened, until fog rose, and I woke by a stream
near men with faces peeled raw by sun.
Together we sang as birds gathered,
filling treetops with their colorful, feathered wings.
A girl whispers from the trees.
Her voice is on fire.
Birds surround her, black and white magpies,
green parrots lost among spiny leaves.
Early in the day, and heat already
a shocking wall of air baking in the sun.
I swim through heat, bathe in its sensual embrace.
She sings and a name hangs from her tongue,
then slips away onto the ravaged grass.
I have stepped outside myself, and now I am lost
in directionless sky, its blue depth closing over me
like an ocean knitting its watery body, healing its wounds.
© 2019 Steve Klepetar
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