The House on Spring Hollow in the Summer

by Rachel Hungerford


My brother played piano in our living room every day,

Bach and Debussy and Rimsky-Korsakov echoing from the white walls and low ceiling. 

My parents watched the Australian Open, the players with their grunts and their anger and their sweat.

The heat outside was solid and damp,

like tallow before they turn it into things like candles and soap, 

slippery and weighted. 

We watched the finches come to the feeder in the afternoons. They were 

yellow and sprightly, the opposite of the heat.

At night, the fireflies came out in hesitant multitudes, like the first notes

of Debussy’s Reverie, softly echoing from the white walls. My parents

listened to the music while they watched the tennis players. The heat 

could not touch us inside, where we watched the finches come to the feeder and my brother

played piano in our living room, stroking the keys 

as though they were made of tallow, solid and damp, slippery and weighted.

In multitudes, the fireflies emerged from the grass,

in the aftermath of the grunting, sweating anger of the heat—the heat

that was yellow and solid and weighted

like the ball that the tennis players lobbed across the net

while my parents watched

and my brother played piano in the living room.


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