Your Summer

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October 2, 2017 by The Citron Review

by Melanie McCabe


Your summer had no crickets, no crack
of bat and ball, no wave break to lull
muscles smooth, no cacophony of gulls.
Your summer was never song.

Only in the cold that covered the globe’s
other half, only in the thick muzzle of deep
snow that soaked up sound like a towel, could I
know the summer that belonged to you.

Your summer quivered and hopped in strokes
of paint: a viceroy’s wing, the green arc
of a frog. In the thrash of my feet kicking
chlorine and water, there was utter stillness.

In melodies you pummeled on our piano,
there was the cool push only of black and white,
of hammer-strikes you took on faith and used
to count out ballads of bass, not tune.

Your summer had no gossip of leaves
to blow in on a billow of lace and foretell
the sudden tang of rain, no thunder to pound
a backbeat for the bright startle of lightning;

no daughter’s voice to pierce the raucous din
of quiet, but only and ever the demand,
the demand, of lips to track, riddles to undo,
moving fingers to cling to like spars.


Melanie McCabe is the author of two books of poems, What The Neighbors Know and History of the Body. Her memoir, His Other Life: Searching For My Father, His First Wife, and Tennessee Williams, won the 2016 University of New Orleans Publishing Lab Prize and is just out from UNO Press. 

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