What We’ll Remember

We’ll remember this as the summer when hail rained down as large as peaches, when whips of lightning tore through the humid air. We’ll remember this as the summer when we woke and looked up to see a sky filled with clouds in the shape of women’s pendulous breasts; when every day as we walked from one end of the field to the other, it seemed the cicadas’ agitated chirping might rival the noise of oncoming trains. And we’ll remember this as the summer of startling sightings: wild birds far from home, a man-of-war sailing into the harbor, cannons firing in salute; and a body washed up on the river’s edge. A cerulean warbler sang incessantly in the yard, and doctor’s reports recommended the cutting away of some parts. We’ll remember this as the summer of swiftest change: how we walked, mornings and evenings, past fences overgrown with wisteria— their opulent scent already balanced on the rim of decay.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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  1. MEMORIES OF SUMMER

    Summers at the City of Pines, Baguio of my youth,
    saw us picking up tennis balls at Camp John Hay,
    for the most filthy-mouthed players in memory.

    At my granddaughter’s tennis clinic today, I cracked
    a racket on a young man’s shin for yelling the effing
    word every time he failed to return an effing ball.

    Why do we remember anger longer than any earth-
    shaking event? The god particle dicovery by savants
    lasted a only a week. Who cares about the goddamn

    particle? The slaughter of children, women, the old
    who could not outrace bullets in Syria, Kabul, Libya,
    Kenya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Ampatuan, Nigeria—

    they are yesterday’s news rehashed every lazy day
    thereafter until the copy desk won’t consider these
    news enough to pepper papers preferring Tom Cruise

    and Katie Holmes’ quickie divorce. Who needs to hear
    more murder stories, of mothers and fathers killing
    their own babies to hurt each other? Summer news.

    Am I any bigger than all these when I did not bother
    to attend my mother’s burial, or catch her last call
    for me, his firstborn, before she gasped her final breath?

    I will remember this summer as the cruelest, heartless
    time: I became my most dreaded shadow-self. I could
    no longer feel even the pain of my mother’s death.

    This summer, I might as well be dead, as dead perhaps
    as I can remember any dying when what remains here
    is a mocking wraith of a man who is no longer human.

    —Albert B. Casuga
    07-14-12

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