Swollen Summer

The view from a home I used to know.

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I almost can’t wait for another swollen summer. I can’t wait for the blistering, sweltering heat. How it forces its way under your skin and holds you hostage inside strip malls and other suburban purgatories, lured in by the lewdest of the lewd: that seductive wet whirrrr of air conditioning.  I couldn’t keep one in my bedroom, what with the fire escape.  So at night I’d crawl out onto the hot metal grating to meditate on the blank New Jersey sky, able to pretend that the barest breath of a breeze was refreshing.

I’d curse the night: roiling but empty with a haze of too many lights from airport landing strips and sterile office buildings, formica kitchen counters and caustic railroad stations.  And burned into my memory is that night, years ago now, when we hooligans poured onto the streets and I was that girl with the dragon shirt: dancing red green and gold over the swamp-lit streets.  And it seemed to me that the earth was as blank as that cloudless sky, even with the streets so filled with the half-feral youth of a mile-wide town.

That’s far away now.  My mind overwritten with other summers, other longings.  And yet, and yet.  There are constants in the meadowlands.  I miss how each day the lush trees would grow more and more jaded to the sweating masses underfoot and the morse code of fireflies as they call to each other in the night.  I miss the honeysuckle outside my window: climbing up the bricks of a childhood that I no longer own.

Title stolen, with apologies, from The Bravery who were a big deal for about five minutes when I was fifteen.

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