Thursday, July 18, 2013

bad haiku for a sweltering summer night

it is hot enough
to melt any resistance.
three weeks into my

break and my weakness
for wine is diminishing.
i breathe easily,

summer's humid breath
notwithstanding. i ignore
the endless stream of

emails and threats, of
pleas and suggested meeting
times, and i am close

to knowing that time
is more than the sum of what
other people say

it is. this other
life, this summer shell, is what
i want and fear both:

the want is easy
to explain, but the fear? i
can't afford to get

too comfortable
here. i feel the life return
to veins and blood, limbs

and core, the colors
of summer blooming in me
as thick air whispers

against skin, sun as
sweet as puppy love coaxing
from me the self that

forgets the ways of
summer--my only defense--
ten long months each year.

each year, each cycle,
comes to this and by its end
i beg it to stay.

it's an old refrain,
song of the unrequited,
a grace note catching

at the heart. i catch
a firefly in my hands, his
tiny beacon a

reminder, a sign
of all that is fleeting. my
challenge is to still

myself enough to
feel this moment, store every
sustaining drop.  the

hummingbird drops by
the fuchsia, extracts nectar,
moves on but returns

each year.  such movement,
such diurnal tendencies--
this is a map i've

yet to master. i
have four weeks left. i wonder
how much i can bloom

and how much i will
diminish. tonight i hold
summer's hand the way

i held the hand of
the boy i loved at fourteen:
trembling, the heat of

the touch washing through
me, melting my will, my poor
heart helpless and fast.

with winter's fast so
close--always--tonight i choose
the season's chicane,

to feel the night on
my face, thick air in my lungs,
heat that leaves too soon.


  1. Ah, Greta, this is lovely. I have this theory that summer induces the same kind of amnesia that apparently happens after your first baby, enabling you to have a second and go through all that hell again. And so on. During summer I cannot remember how much physical and emotional exhaustion I felt, and so I go back. Then during the year I become an automaton for whom the idea of summer is a vague flicker. Only during the first week of summer, when I sleep like I'm drugged for 12 hours a night, for 3-4 nights, does my actual exhaustion level make itself manifest.

  2. Thank you, Frog and Toad--and, yes, that's it exactly. I slept like I was drugged for nearly the first week and a half when my last term ended; I still feel sleep deprived. It's this realization, now year after year for me, that I cannot break this cycle of reviving for two short months after a deadening ten.

    And, yes, I go back forgetting in part how miserable it was the previous year. Each fall semester, though, the honeymoon is shorter and shorter ...

    Thanks for the nice feedback and for sharing. Have a good summer.

  3. I propose that Greta's poetry be collected into a chapbook that we can buy. I would buy it and read it with pleasure while drinking wine in my backyard. That would be an idyllic use of my summer.

  4. I still envy your critters, Greta. And not for the forbidden human food, either.

  5. Thank you, Professor Chiltepin. You've actually given me an idea...hmm... .

    Thank you, too, Faris Bueller.

    And Froderick, you do know how to flatter a girl.

    1. I'd better cut it out. Greta, since sooner or later my real-life girlfriend is going to find out about it, and then I've HAD it. ;-)/2

    2. Somehow, Froderick, I don't think I'm any kind of threat to her. -smile-