Saturday, July 20, 2013

heat wave

It's four-thirty in the afternoon on what seems like the twentieth day of the heat wave.  Earlier some clouds made some shade and promised some rain, but like promises made by liars, the promise of rain was snatched up and carried off, and I labored in the sun.  Sweat pooled in the shallow divot of my sternum.  The boing of my neighbor's kickstand wobbled through the stillness.  I pulled some sorry dill and noted that the end of fresh dill season would soon be here.  What doesn't end?  In the distance, in the future, there is a funeral somewhere.  There are mourners dressed in black, fanning themselves by the grave.  We all gotta go sometime, I say to myself, as I look out the window and across the street at my neighbor's bush as it sits there and does nothing. It's so still.  The lawn of the funeral home down the street is defiantly green.  August approaches with a drought in its stride.  In this weather, hot coffee stays hot all day.  

It has been pointed out to me that I don't know much about the weather.  I talk about the weather a lot, and I am an astute observer of the weather, but it's true that I understand little about the meteorological phenomena behind the weather.  I just look at the clouds and listen to the birds.  Are the clouds moving?  Are the birds in a frenzy?  Have the birds suddenly all shut up?  I met a fellow in England years ago, and he claimed that he could predict the weather by observing the behavior of horses.  Of course there were no horses on the campus of Kent, in Canterbury, England, and everyone laughed at him because he was odd.  I, however, did not laugh at him because the people who laughed at him disgusted me, especially the rich and pompous, Greek exchange students who went about in Adidas track suits and looked down their noses at everyone as they slicked back their hair with combs made from poached ivory.  

But it's true: I don't know much about the weather.  I am a poet.  Weather is never actual weather.  There are feelings in every cloud.  Sometimes those clouds burst.  When there are no clouds in the sky, I feel nothing at all.  I only scorch.     

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