by Steve Gaines

once more July!
and the oven of my birth
forty-seven years ago
the ghost of every Summer in between
suspended on the walls of my mind
inside my head
a cast off clutter of soft memories

July remembers hot!
sun tanned
ice tea and corn of the cob

July is the child in me
every year burst out again
through the thin skin
of my perpetual childhood

I am cast in Julys
sculpted in molten shapes
liquid memories
sweat and steam and swimming pools

I am a brief memento of the Depression
those parched years of the thirties
turned to the constant search for water

nothing quite like Nebraska Julys

thirty-one days of swelter
four hundred miles of shimmering highway
and thirsty corn

in forty-seven years
of my July clothing put together
there wouldn’t be enough to dress the numbers
of a modest basketball team
made up of short men…

no shirt
bare feet
shorts and swim suits
its a naked month

July is a fire!

somehow I have never quite burned to those standards

not yet…
rather only just simmered a little
now and then
and it takes heat to move these aging bones

but July comes back every year
a comet returned with me in it’s wake
and one of these years…
the explosion will be my own….