This summer, streets reek of defiant glamour, and hot-
pink fingernails like talons scratch the air. I play Shirley
Bassey for the strangers who slither in with sangria and
stories no one should hear, and endure the cruise of
chemical Kit Kat clouding Sterling Avenue, my conscience.
This summer, you kill yourself while I job search,
wander Walmart’s maze of aisles, the devastating weight
of stuff; and George Noory talks, each night, to a guy
about the Antichrist, and men, each morning, navigate
the slippery pink roof of another new condo complex.
This summer, mourners manoeuvre conversation that
flutters then darts away, and vases of professionally arranged
daisies and chrysanthemums stand at attention, while
at the harbour, around the corner from the wake,
ducks, seagulls, Canada geese, and swans frolic on
their private beach, mingle as easy as swingers at a party.
They joke about the kid who flings his kite at the sky, then
runs like hell. They guffaw at his father, who picks up
the pieces, pulls at an invisible string, and runs too,
calling, “It’s hard to get right the first time. But it’ll be O.K.,”
because that’s what a father has to believe.
This summer lies dangerous like exposed wire snaking
into a future where police cars burn, World Cup soccer
rages, and Teenage Dream posters obstruct all Blockbuster
entrances. I watch the last chrysanthemum collapse,
each petal a single flower falling that I will never catch,
as women and men lean too far off the street’s concrete
planters, their bodies begging for air, for water to quench
the grit’s thirst, for this urgent lingering to go on, for the
magnificent things that surely will come.