We counted down to everything
like astronauts, t-minus ten to
everything we yearned for,
sliding backward through our days
yet gliding forward through our lives
while never really feeling we were moving.
And when we somehow finally
reached July, we vamped one
single carefree day until the fall
and called it summer. Just summer.
Lying smooth in the memory
like a polished white stone.
Endless muggy mornings and sirens,
like distant muezzins, calling us at midday
as we chose up sides for war on the street
where Sally drove his ice cream
truck come nighttime.
Just summer. When time seemed wrung
from everything; the leaves, the trees, the sky,
ourselves. But we grew older
in our bodies anyway, as clueless
as the leaves about their coming fall.
I remember it only as ‘summer’,
but for a few stray strands of memory
that I’ve never slicked down—
and what stands out,
stands out for a reason I’m told.
So what am I to make of remembering
like it was yesterday, the owl perched atop
the rusting pole at dusk, and the way
it felt exactly when that older girl
chucked me under the chin
as we waited for our ice cream?
by Donald Sellitti
Editor’s Note: This narrative poem uses precisely the right imagery and pacing to draw the reader into the hazy memory of warm days and innocence.