When Summer Gathered

poetry by Kenneth Salzmann ± art by Jenny Matthews 122314


When that summer gathered around us

in astonishing waves of need,

denim girls in back seats or slow dancing

to awkward strains from electric guitars

were danger and mystery and power,

every bit as if there were a god.

Unlikely gods spill love or loss or death

across summer waters and cloudless skies

brimming with possibility.

When summer gathered that year,

longhaired boys sipped wine and wonder

in cemeteries hugging silver lakes

while longhaired girls swam naked in the night.

Eyes and lips and soft brown skins washed over

our random plans for sudden change,

almost as if there were a god.

Unlikely gods hurl harsh laughter

when clumsy attempts to touch bind our hands;

unlikely gods stir still waters

by cemeteries hugging silver lakes

when lovers swimming naked in the night

ride astonishing waves of need.

The summer rain falls warm on new lovers,

to bead and pool with salty tears.

Dark-eyed girls with dark hair spread soft against

the moist grasses of small town greens

are danger and mystery and power,

and astonishing waves of need.

Every bit as if there is a god,

we will taste the ways love and death both bleed.


Kenneth Salzmann is a writer and poet whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, literary journals and anthologies, including The New Verse News, Rattle, Comstock Review, Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents (Gelles-Cole Literary Enterprises), Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude (Holy Cow! Press), Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers (Codhill Press), The Heart of All That Is: Reflections on Home (Holy Cow! Press).

See more Jenny Matthew’s tiny drawings at
www.tinydrawings.blogspot.com & www.jennymmathews.com



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