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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Are not that long—equal in length

to a winter day, but filled with more distress.

 

Maybe that is why as a boy

growing up in a time before

air conditioning coffined my senses

to the summer serenade of  cicadas

and toads  

 

and with only a small oscillating fan

providing token solace for the humidity

that collected in a damp, cold melancholy

on my exposed pores,

 

I’d go outside just after dusk and stare

into a starless soup and wait

for the metronome lights pulsing

in arrhythmic outbursts that caused

my heart to resonate at the natural frequency

of the cicadas’ screams.

 

Because on nights like this I dreaded dying,

even as a young boy, as my mind short-circuited

trying to process the empty eternity

of a starless summer sky.

 

So like the dull beacons aimlessly darting

through the night, I became busy, never allowing

my mind to wander beyond the task at hand. 

Fortunately, summer nights never last too long.

 

—Mike Ambrose