Separation

Summer, I love you once and doubtless will again;

for sure I’ll miss your warm and humid breath some months from now,

during the short, cold days and frigid nights of February.

But at the moment, on this your last day with me for a while,

I have to say I think some time apart will do us good,

let us cool down from our heated altercations

so we can start afresh next time.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

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First Evening of September

On the front porch on a breezy evening

when the weather’s still summer but the mood is fall:

the kids on their bikes raucous and wild,

the light of a jetliner like Venus in motion,

someone cruising by in a convertible couple,

cats chasing insects, imaginary and real,

a neighbor’s flag flying upside-down,

create-myrtle branches gently swaying,

Italian music and a glass of red wine.

The only thing missing’s someone to share it.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Summer Evening

Through a dusty window

on the hottest evening of the year,

silence prevails and nothing happens again

in the backyard, except the imperceptible

growth of grass, the sway of an unpruned

crepe myrtle branch in the dry wind,

a vine climbing one more square

up the fence.

 

Earlier, a loose dog

came round. I gave him water,

the neighbors found treats, and

I walked him home.

Before that, I slept off the wine

from a party last night

and cleaned up the cat puke

in the living room.

 

Now the light begins to fade,

though the heat hangs on,

and I sit here beside the dusty window,

drinking beer and Googling exotic locations

that I might want to visit.

It’s the end of another day

and still there’s no one to hold me,

to tell me I’m flawed but it’s OK.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

 

It Rains

Cheap wine in a plastic cup.

That’s what things have come to,

as I sit on the porch alone

in the overripe loneliness

of an endless summer afternoon

punctuated only

by a pop-up thundershower,

and ponder the inevitable decay

represented by a neighbor’s

flag, its stars hanging heavy,

its stripes tattered at the ends.

 

There’s a season for chasing dreams,

a time to pull away

from  the dead ones.

The hawk still circles

up toward the clouds,

but the squirrel lies

car-flattened in the street.

 

The rain grows harder,

washing in on me,

but I still feel unclean,

and if there’s meaning in it,

I don’t know.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Heat

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