At Summer’s Decline


by James Owens

The rain never tires. I am unsteady today,
but I go out in a fever — no metaphor,
a real cling of heat fogging my skin,
some muzzy dread throbbing above my eyes.

A month ago, to seal a day of brassy sun,
we swam a secret pool in the forest,
where at eye-level small curls of mist
licked the cooling air, and my wife,

rising from a dive, turning to me,
gathered the rare light and wore it.
Now, a drowned mole shines in the puddle
between the bent roots of a big oak,

fur sleek, clean as broken anthracite.
Five wild turkeys drip as they cross the path.
Rain shivers over my heat like pleasure,
weather a numb drone in the trees.

Tapestry, I think, as a meadow rustles,
thistle sewn into the rank tangle
of ragweed. As if that word would lift
it all. As if it needed to be lifted.

JAMES OWENS’S most recent collection of poems is Mortalia (FutureCycle Press, 2015). His poems, stories, and translations appear widely in literary journals, including publications in The Fourth River, Kestrel, Adirondack Review, Tule Review, Poetry Ireland Review, and Southword. He earned an MFA at the University of Alabama and lives in Indiana and northern Ontario.

Photo: “Waterlily 1” by Ashok Bogani

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