June Twenty-First by Bruce Guernsey

June Twenty-First

My mother’s cigarette flares and fades,
the steady pulse of a firefly,
on the patio under the chestnut.

The next door neighbors are over.
My father, still slender, is telling a joke:
laughter jiggles in everyone’s drinks.

On his hour’s reprieve from sleep,
my little brother dances
in the sprinkler’s circle of water.

At fourteen, I’m too old
to run naked with my brother,
too young to laugh with my father.

I stand there with my hands in my pockets.
The sun refuses to set,
bright as a penny in a loafer.

by Bruce Guernsey

Editor’s Note: The subtle tension of family relationships from the point of view of a teen is colorfully drawn in this poem’s imagery.

3 thoughts on “June Twenty-First by Bruce Guernsey

  1. Use of the present tense makes the subject of how it feels to be a 14-year-old boy between two worlds more immediate and poignant. A beautifully spare poem, and the word “jiggles,” conveying on its own both motion and sound, makes a wordier explanation unnecessary. Damn good stuff.


  2. Pingback: Pushcart Prize Nominations – 2016 | Autumn Sky Poetry Daily
  3. Pingback: From the archives — June Twenty-First by Bruce Guernsey | Autumn Sky Poetry Daily

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