by Julia Spicher Kasdorf
Little one, let the monarchs flex and rest
on the sand before their long migrations.
Ease your head onto the float as the sun
sinks red on the ridge, summer done,
no one else at the lake but a Russian
who strokes and strokes on the far side
of the rope. Soon enough we’ll dress
and hurry home in sudden darkness.
If you remember anything from this time,
let it be heavy-seeded sunflowers bent
over the bed where we pinched tiny stars
from a tomato vine. Whatever is not in fruit
now will never ripen. Whoever is alone
will linger in the hardware store on the edge
of town where compact, taciturn men
in tee shirts and caps provide what is needed–;
the screw to fix our slipping doorknob, outlet
covers, bailer twine—then, as humbly, take returns
without suspicion or reproof. One lifts the last
sacks of play sand into our trunk. Just past
the lumber yard, a field of soybeans flares
for us like a startled flock of canaries.