Memories of Summer 2020

Now the crispness is back
in the shadows – already
poignant hints of nostalgia
for this present already lost,
fading if not altogether
already gone.

But in the golden light the brownstones
still like the earth – ancient
beneath the cornucopia of color,
fugacious flowers temporarily crowding
the ever-present everlasting
stone-stepped stoops –

shadows dancing light-heartedly
like an inverted flame
splayed orange on the brick and vine,
the mellow haze of the waterfront

when I would walk dance run
to the docks where the light is
so nakedly achingly fantastically honest
in the tender near-obscenity
of the late summer breeze –

the almost impossibly gentle
blast of sea-breeze unknown
to any other season – unimaginable
that the usual punch, the biting
gust, has blossomed in summer
into this now so implausibly sweet

It is then that the stress was
momentarily forgotten.

Because of course all this time
this season was different –

unique from summers past
yet also the same, global
for everyone, so everyone in the world
is (for the first time?)
experiencing (essentially)
the same unifying, humanizing
shared terror.

The approaching footsteps
of a stranger,
the fear and the audacity
of the unmasked.

The children are hermetically
home –
home has become
the epicenter,
bounded yet boundless
stage for and of Life –
home, work, school, bar, camp –

and we two alone
we must ensure
that no lasting harm may come to them
our future – the future
that they, as is only rarely considered,
embody within their still developing
limbs, brains and minds.

Will the children be safe
at school, or at home within
their loneliness?
Or in the new pre-apocalyptic culture
where hugs are forbidden,
smiles hidden behind masks,
no whispering behind hands
touching faces,
close contact constantly chastised
and the “other” – the
– is steadily “otherized” into a new
of distance and fear,
clan-like exclusivity,
the asymptotic approach
to solipsism –

will the children be safe,
will they still be like us,
like we dream of them being,
in this brave new world?

It is a palpable incongruence –
the heaviness of fear and uncertainty
mixed with the fairytale luxury, the
sweet summer bliss at home.

Conference calls in the hammock –
watching the tomatoes grow,
the butterflies fluttering,
bumblebees oblivious
to the unbearable beauty,
the unfathomable briefness
of their seasonal rapture
among the flowers, my own
little slice of fleeting paradise
raging before my eyes
as I discourse on jurisdiction
with the voices of my colleagues
disembodied in my head.

A palpable incongruence –
between the comfort and beauty
but at the same time the suffocating
and constant worry –
am I doing it right?
what does the future
hold for my days
and the memories of my children –
this childhood that may be
their only chance?

The sounds of summer –
the unmistakable lushness of rain
falling on flagrant foliage,
the exorbitant mountainous green,
soft muted magnificence
of the fleetingly verdant, newly
impermeable abundance.

But also and still –
the sirens wailing and dopplering,
the approaching footsteps
of a stranger.
The fear
the audacity
of the unmasked.

The golden light ablaze.

And we have only lived
two seasons in this abruptly-new
way of life – what lies
in the colder, darker, harder months
still ahead?

Poetry by sasha khrebtukova
Read 293 times
Written on 2020-09-22 at 23:31

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Lovely writing. It merits close, attentive reading and re-reading. Thank you for posting!

ken d williams The PoetBay support member heart!
An exultant work, Sasha.
Ken D

one trick pony The PoetBay support member heart!
This is a journey—from the front steps to the docks to your fears and hopes. So well written and expressed.