from "Summer"

The larval aura makes summer
sense to me who’s alone with
my aftermath and the teeth
have been torn out of the mask
that represents mimicry
nobody wants to tell me
with summer-breaths
where it hurts or who was injured
when I broke into a toxic garble
with a hissing snake for a heart
when I was sweaty and tired
I learned to kiss in the underworld
with my mother tongue
and my hymn to inflation
already sung
in a dazzling killer language
I learned to speak
in the most toxic state
with my father tongue
while the war was at war
with a war and a mother
war took place between summer
and my virgin arms
I know the emergency state
of being alive
has little to do with my tongue
it has to do with the lies
I tell my children
with my father tongue
I’m interviewing them
for roles in lilac antigone
it’s beautiful but it’s also a joke
I have a dead child
in summer I have trashed
summer eyes with a million
nightingales because
I’m reading the plays
of Eva Kristina Olsson 

Copyright © 2018 by Johannes Göransson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 28, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I wrote this poem as part of a longer sequence called ‘Summer’ while back in Sweden for a few weeks in the summer of 2017, staying at a friend's apartment, listening to a Swedish pop music channel and reading Eva Kristina Olsson's occult poems about molting angels. The whole sequence is an exploration of the fantasy of home as well as an exploration of the deep-seated Swedish mythology of summer. The poem is written in the language of these fantasies, but the language has been corrupted by history.”
—Johannes Göransson