# # Summer

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog


Summer: The Ditch - circa 1970


Summer days stung
with sweet leaf chewing tobacco
the bitter blood of choke cherries
and crisp stalked asparagus purloined
like the shade we find and eat it in

Scrambling monkey-cling and crablike
up the thick crack-barked cottonwood trunk
to the sawn-stump seat-back
where we nestle and drape under
the clapping canopy of leather tough leaves

Shirts off to run-tumbling down crumbling dirt cliffs
our skins pricked with cactus needles and red-ant pincers
pockets full of guys and matchbox cars
Always going home with less than we took
but grass and dirt and scabs their weight in trade

Lazy dogs sniff out cherries for pitty poos
then lie in the long grass shade snapping at flies
or rise to leap a-twist for a gargling bite
of dirty ditch water as it sprays a-chatter
from the homemade rainbird’s high metal beak

Lunchtime paper plates and pan toasted sandwiches
of American cheese on white, split in diagonal twain
a handful of ripple chips, rubbery dill pickle spear
three cookies each, and a plastic cup of iced sun-tea
Mmmmmm, mom may I have some more chips, please?

Denim cut-offs on patched and puckered innertubes;
under branch and over barbed wire we cruise
the silt-salted, sucker-fish skies all the while
watching for white bellied garter snakes describing
their infinite essess across the slow-swell of the surface

Flattened toads frisbeed, spear grass spiked
and a banana seat bike with a boss
3-speed gear shift knob and pedal brakes
leaving black swoops of smeared rubber
on the clean concrete of the new Big-T bridge

Mom’s patterned whistle – the same for the dogs
calls a grudging halt and shirts on for dinner
then out of doors again for a snipped slip of rhubarb stalk
between the teeth, so sour, so sweet
Don’t touch the leaves: Poison!

Summer nights stung with
the wheeling squeal of just glimpsed bats
and a stippling of mosquitos despite the spray
The sticky suck of an iced-fruit pop
dripping its juice down your arm

The poetry of fire and the mystery of the smoke
that follows those who try and hide from it
Ten steps away in the country dark
and the dizzying endlessness of stars reduces
your magical everything to less than a winking spark

Now off to bed, off to bed: the dogs are in and
you’re far too big to be carried anymore
Hush and lie down, you’re sleepy, you’ll see
it’ll still be summer tomorrow
In memory’s mind’s eye this: the cruelest lie

Summer’s past stung with
things long gone and the echoes
of songs sung like the wild sweet pea vines
that twined and hung on the ditch bank fence
and offered up their fruits unfailing

The dogs are dead, the house is sold
the neighbors gone, or grey and old
the light is failing; growing cold
but in my mind, where they unfold
memories ember warm and gold

cae 06-28-11


Summer: Poncho and the Rainbird - circa the 1970's

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3 Responses to “Summer”

  1. Narda says:

    Wow. Beautifully written. I actually feel like I am back there, in our childhood days.

  2. cae says:

    Thanks, Narda – you were one of the people I hoped would read this, thinking you might “get” it.

  3. Rebecca says:

    Loved this. I grew up on Mariana Butte and it rings very true for me too. To be that carefree again…

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