hanging in the air
humidity’s heaviness . . .
the river’s slow crawl
On the Mississippi lies the beautiful little city where I once lived. How many times I trudged up inclined streets; or leaning forward, red-faced and panting, pressed up slopes with all my might, feet on pedals of my purple Sting-ray bike, urging myself not to dismount prior to reaching glorious level ground! The damp beneath my clothing in those days was a given. Simply stopped to rest. . . sipping pop underneath a tree, I would often feel rivulets of sweat that trickled down beneath my underarms, a surfeit which caused circle stains to appear beneath the arms of short-sleeved shirts or on Sundays, beneath the flowered dresses that I wore to church. However, despite the heat’s discomfort, it was summer, after all!
counting down the days
until the school bell’s last ring -
a fling with summer
Released from stifling classrooms for vacation, I eagerly embraced the sun. . .and how I played! Kickball with the neighbors, visits to the city pool with my sisters and friends, bike rides to parks or into town, where I spent my allowance on records and treats, and hours racing eagerly through the pages of Nancy Drew books in front of a cooling fan - all these things consumed me.
It was in the month of August, and more than a decade of muggy summers later that I found myself transplanted in a desert. As if thrust into a giant pre-set oven with a noose about my neck, I learned firsthand the meaning of “slow roast.” Here, in the new and different place where I've now lived most of my adult life, the heat can leave one with a burn like acid watered down, a deep sensation lingering in skin long after sun has left the sky. Perspiration may just evaporate before it has a chance to wend its way along the body’s contours. Discomfort notwithstanding, there’s no pain. Acclimated to these summers now, I find that it is easier for me to breathe in August heat than it was the first time I’d ever encountered it. Released from stifling work, I go outside into the oven, pen in suntanned hand!
so many summers have passed
writing till twilight
Copyright © Andrea Dietrich | Year Posted 2015
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