by Julian River


is the warmest season.
season of cinnamon &
cinema light, of good sun,

apples & earth. season of
counting down towards me
& season of you.

i can’t flip through
a calendar now without
thinking of home.

i wonder if you can see
the knots i wrestle
my tongue into every day—

the words that scatter
in my throat like birds
fleeing a power line,

or the power line snapping
for the tree, or the trees
kneeling for the storm.

i wonder if you
brought me these
strawberries knowing

they could make
the sight of red-stained skin
into something kind.

either way, it fills me
like a vase. i want to tell you
about every small joy

that takes me by surprise,
every bluebird, every
orchestra of insects.

i have only seen a live cicada
once & it was all color—
egyptian jade on the wooden arm

of a bench, her cabochon eyes
like pools of black water,
the veins in her glass wings

greener than spring.
when they make their music,
the night always opens

like cathedral doors. the sound
thick as marsh grass.
it comes from everywhere.

the sound so omnipresent
that i cannot locate
any single point. i’m here

in bed while you are folding
clothes in silence, your presence
an answered prayer

as well as mine.
it’s as simple as this:
you kept me alive.

there will be breathing from
just across the room &
it will still feel unreachable.

there will be love in my chest
that cannot form itself
into any useful language.

summer-autumn is a fragile
time: it has no voice, only
two open hands, but i know

that hard love is not something
to be choked down, when
it could be broken like bread.


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