Poem: Summertime

Andres Rojas

SUMMERTIME
Jacksonville, Florida

I tell her I’ve seen a hawk
beak a pigeon cold
on a branch by the Wells Fargo,
a bile she-cat
take a squirrel in Hemming Plaza.

Older,

I tell her, than us,
hunger is patient
as the dogwood stone
smooth as an axe handle
for the starved Confederate dead,

the river’s belt-narrow bend.
And it’s all a long weeding,
I tell her. She doesn’t answer,
eyes blue as blue shadows,
blue as the manicured grass

we hunt

for my gold ring, a fight
about money, what else,
her purse-flashlight bright
only in night so much darker,
so dim it seems distant, a promise,

light waiting for itself.
I tell her its beam shines
like milk after hard fast,
a debt forgiven, if unpaid.
Shut up, she says, and keep

looking.

And it’s all a long weeding,
I say, the only answer
a snap of flag on air
on July fire male voice
from the Plaza Jewelers’ angled

façade.

I’ve been drinking razor soup,
it says to two men wearing
bedrolls like life-preservers.
We’re going down, one says,
to the Kings Street shelter.

And I feel above us its specter,
eagle talons chill,
feathers like eye-teeth,
horned head sneering.
It will pick them clean,

our bones.

I see its shadow fall slant
on your nose, itself
slant on your small skull,
so beautiful, so much blood
keeping our skulls beautiful.

I hate when I get like this.
I hate you can see it.
When life tells you something,
I say, believe it.
I do
, you say, and keep

looking.

(This poem first appeared in New England Review.)

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4 Comments

  1. Hiya Andy,

    Hmm. Summertime is the “stuff”.

    So good I read it twice, then

    Once again for luck.

    Bernard

    By the Burn

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