When I say you are summer to me,
I do not mean you are days of bliss and bright.
Trust me, you are neither lovely nor temperate.
What I mean is you are the sting
of cold showers on tight, red skin.
You are sticky legs cloyed with suncream,
bites scratched raw, sandy eyes rubbed watery,
coarse hair stiff with salt, heavy-headed sunstroke,
chipped varnish, a arm-and-ankle-ful of tacky bracelets.
You are a moment suspended in water,
the drag and lift of warm wind over brittle cheeks.
You are feet in prickled grass, the stench and trickle
of sweat, body stuck to bedclothes.
Living in your tender heat means long nights
discussing everything that makes us cry,
drinking whiskey from lukewarm glasses, pointing
roughened toes towards the expanse of curling sky,
putting the world to rights, singing into heady,
drunken darkness, certain that for now,
we are the only people left on the earth.
I am always dazzled how something as simple as your
chilling breeze can feel so rare and so filling.
I have seen your ebb and flow, the biting cool of your oceans,
the jealous stain of storms and muggy silence, and I choose it all.
You are everything I forget to feel until it touches me again.
When I say are summer to me,
what I mean, then,
is you are messy and loud and
full of mistakes and still, when I
stop for a moment and glance up
at your gaping heavens,
I am never empty;
never out of touch with
the sting of your skin and mine;
never lose track of every intersection
of body and breath;
I am whole
and know what it is
to touch the ground.