The Rest of Summer, S. Michael Simms

The Rest of Summer
S. Michael Simms

The creak of that Tennessee porch-swing’s a tireless Junebug
trapped in the amber of my all-growed-up ear – a metronome

of mortal awareness of what I left hanging there along with youth
and the rest of summer – once upon a time, summer was mine…

Three generations of cinnamon skin cousins, three or four wide,
pushed, pulled, treaded water-thick air with gangly appendages.

How we’d hyena as it cussed in Chainese, launching Aladdin’s rug,
a rocket ship, giant eagle, whatever we dreamed that day skyward,

surging through layers untold of pre-season paint jobs, a new hue
for each aestival stanza of our lives. Near the bottom, Red

and the memory of flight— a little bird fallen, broken – poor thing;
I’d no real healing powers, so I lifted it, spun around, left it beneath

a shade tree with some earthworms, red snotberries and the memory
of flight. Turquoise was clover, flesh, pink and fresh, one dancing

barefoot through the other; Navy Blue, a neighbor kid; Sea Green,
neighbor kid kisses, back to Red…I lost track in a waterfall rainbow

of lightning bug lamps, wheat-pennies, moss-covered birdbaths, aging
crates of Lincoln logs and Tonka trucks. Now that Tennessee swing’s

on some faraway family’s grayscale porch. I drove by the day they carted
it away— grounded by Little Grandma’s ghost, it slumped to one side,

one invincible wing suspended by a single, rusted chain, the other broken,
Swiss cheesed by carpenter ants, flecked with paint chips like fallen snow.

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