When the heat arrives, around half-past July,

time shifts into a different dimension:

Not-a-morning-persons sip coffee on front steps

in their underwear at dawn; restless dogs drag

their lagging humans along the streets on midnight walks;

high noon drops the dead weight of silent stillness

over thirsty lawns toasted crisp and brown,

petunias and impatiens limp and yellow,

wilted over their funereal pots, a calico cat

melting in the meager shade of a sad azalea,

her breath her only motion. A dry wind rises,

swirling dust and rustling the crepe-myrtle branches,

but it brings no comfort, no relief from the sun god

relentlessly blessing his subjects.


Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

Independence Day, 2017

Practicing tai chi

in the rain

on the Fourth of July,

I ponder the origin

of fireworks

between sips

of espresso

as I try to remember

the names of yoga poses

in Danish

and think of how good

our president

has made Canada look,

but my Stars and Stripes

still fly high

over me and my neighbors,

old and young,

white and black,

Latino and Asian,

and for a moment,

I forgot the divisions

and remember,

despite my Southern roots,

the unity.


Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

Dream Boy

Slender, long-haired,
Probably nine or ten,
Wearing a T-shirt and shorts,
Always barefooted,
The boy around the corner
And down the street,
Twisting and twirling
For hours at a time
On the rope swing
Dangling from
A front-yard tree,
Whiling away
The summer day;
Obviously not
A reader or a gamer,
Apparently not
An athlete either,
But a dreamer for sure,
And I can’t help
Wondering what stories
His imagination spins
Behind brown eyes
As his body spirals
At the end
Of its

Copyright 2017
T. Allen Culpepper