I’d trade this summer for something that doesn’t burn,
for blooms that break through from the center of the earth
like a spring, in days when dripping from a swim we bend,
turn our faces toward a harmless sun and drink it in.
I’d trade this summer for something just beginning,
for the summer that lolled when popsicles melted
and springboard dives flipped our bodies high.
When we played on slip and slides, wasted everything but worry
as the wanton garden hose ran
water down the driveway.
I’d trade this summer for a saturated lawn,
for times when fields grew and we had no fear of the sun,
for evenings when we peeled sweet desiccated skin,
collected patches of it
and peeled again,
when the sun was our friend.
Water was what we sank in,
lavished in and loved, allowed
to pool and puddle,
water was for slopping around and always enough,
always enough half naked running, and letting it run.
I’d trade this summer for the luxury of wasting,
for an excess of sugary lemonade
and cigarettes burning away in an ashtray.
I’d trade this summer of cosmic heat and children slathered with sunscreens,
of bottles leaching and pharmacies in streams, of monsters breeding
in a sea turned prehistoric somewhere deep.
I’d trade these fans that can’t compete
with the clear breath of wind that traveled from the beach,
trade that for this garden with nothing green. Mention summer to me:
I think green and sprinklers and half-naked children running free.