All summers, since that summer, are that summer:
A sunstruck shadow falls across the
Solstice. A film falls on a wall:
Somersaulters, Roman riders, prestidigitators,
Your drunken dance long past lights-out. (You
Must have lost track, lost
In times you’ll long for later, you
Live, longing for the past.
That sleeping bag night
In the weeds, in the lot, awaiting
The one on the morning train from town,
And bed: the kingdom of what can go wrong.
The beloved promised the beyond – endless
Midsummer embraces, heights
Of stillness – stepped off the perspiring
Train, rain steamed
Off hot roads, and you walked beside, to inhale
Keith Jarrett said it of music, but who
Will say it of love?: We must learn to forget
Or become addicts of the past.
As short as peach season: skin comes away
In one long peel.
You knew nothing, thought
You were flying.
Nietzsche had his
Eternal wheels that break us
But that summer? It’s marked No Return, call it back
As you might.
No sign of it … except in rags
Of dream, banshee tread, haunt
And howl, revenants. Pulsing, swelling organ
Dreams and recalls, depicter, repainter,
(A couple danced. You two watched, said
In a smile, in a shade, “She’s slept with him.”)
Tastes of that mouth, wears that sacred
(Always always will.)
(When the bombs fell, it was “Come inside.” A long
Onslaught ended too soon. Two fled that
Ruined village by opposing roads.)
This morning –
Thrashing fields, maples green-burdened, July-blunted –
Hymns to you, outrageous. Tomato’s scent
Stays on your hands past noon. Shadowed perfumes
In the next room declare
Oranges and pears ripen in the bowl. Who needs
Summer to spell it out:
You thought you were the lover, are the beloved?
John Timpane is the Media Editor/Writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer. His work has appeared in Sequoia, The Fox Chase Review, Cleaver, Apiary, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Philadelphia Review of Books, The Rathalla Review, Per Contra, Vocabula Review, and elsewhere. Books include (with Nancy H. Packer) Writing Worth Reading (NY: St. Martin, 1994), It Could Be Verse (Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed, 1995), (with Maureen Watts and the Poetry Center of Cal State San Francisco) Poetry for Dummies, and (with Roland Reisley) Usonia, N.Y.: Building a Community with Frank Lloyd Wright (NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2000), plus a poetry chapbook, Burning Bush (Ontario, Canada: Judith Fitzgerald/Cranberry Tree, 2011). His e-mail band, Car Radio Dog, has just released its second CD, Back to the Bone. He is spouse to Maria-Christina Keller, and they are parents of Pilar and Conor.