August by Jean L. Kreiling


The downward slope of summer modulates
the angle of our pleasures as it trains
reluctant eyes upon the lower plains,
where imminent nostalgia coolly waits.
Still coddled by a kind and lofty light,
we toast the sunset earlier each day,
like open-faced sunflowers that betray
a naïve over-ripeness in their height.
We’re past peak season for the kind of heat
that met with merciless humidity
in waves that drained our bodies and the land—
but this deliverance is bittersweet:
we clutch our sweating glasses of iced tea
as tightly as we’d grasp a mother’s hand.

by Jean L. Kreiling, first published in 14 by 14Issue 4 (June 2008).

Editor’s Note: After this past week’s heatwave, I find the hope for cooler weather so eloquently expressed in this sonnet appealing. Of course, the pivot at the end belies such easy wishing. It’s still hot and it’s still August here in Pennsylvania.


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