Ode to Summer

Ode to Summer read by Nisha Atalie

Sunday morning &
              already a boy was dragged
                               away in a rip tide.

The lake rose up &
               the city sent horns & lights
                                to illuminate
               his floating blue.

Someone was killed on this corner
               last night. We heard the shots
               & looked at each other

but said nothing. M barked
                for a little
                                then stopped.

This morning, everything parched:
                the silver maple, the concrete
                                hot at 6:00am

no shells but yellow
                caution tape blooming out
                                of the garbage can.

Humidity is over 80% & we sweat
                 til midnight talking
                                about war.

Two nights ago I dreamt myself
                sinking in a growing lake

water at my neck &
               our building tumbling
                                 into its arms.

This is how we relearn
                                 the name of each
                poisonous flower.

Nisha Atalie is a mixed poet of South Asian and European descent from the Pacific Northwest. She is a poetry editor at MASKS literary magazine and her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Blood Orange ReviewThe HungerTinderbox PoetryBreakwater Review, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2021 Eileen Lannan Poetry Prize.

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