Hot Summer Nights
I live for those hot, summer nights.
The kind where the air is so thick it
trickles down your throat, like sweet molasses
Where sticky thighs get trapped under rustling sheets
because it’s hot enough for the cotton to be stifling
but not hot enough to wiggle out the polish-painted toes,
in fear of dangling over the edge and baiting the
monster underneath the bed.
The summer of 2011 epitomized these nights.
Cherry popsicle-stained lips and string-tied hips
were the look of Rockaway Beach
The sun was blazing, the waves embracing—
and when I couldn’t go the beach because
my parents had finally put their foot down
I had the chilled AC’d room rubbing backs
with the burning asphalt.
So when the weatherman said it would rain
in late August, I said, “let it rain” right back.
Because I was young and it was summer and
best friends and boys and 4th grade
sat on my brain—
Rain was the simple afterthought to
air smelling wet and earthy,
to clouds grasping hands with soil
to humidity and hair frizz and hot dog barbeques and,
even when the weatherman said it would hurricane,
I swept the tropical storm under the carpet category
of mythological weather phenomenons:
ones I had caught whispers of but never really witnessed.
Only when “rain” started throwing rocks at my window
like a sodden Romeo, begging for my attention
did I begin to think that I should have turned the
weatherman’s voice up.
Only when wind sloppily french kissed my storm door,
sticking his tongue behind her hinges and underneath her gaps
did I start to regret changing the Weather Channel to that “Disney one.”
Because the multi-headed monster named Irene, Irma, Sandy, Maria,
had finally chosen to crawl out
from underneath my bed and knock on my front door
Because I didn’t have the luxury of hiding
underneath my covers anymore.
Because my parents could only bring one suitcase,
so my youth and my responsibility could not both fit.
Because summer had died on my porch step that day,
and a piece of me—and the rest of the world—
unknowingly died with her.
I once lived for those hot, summer nights.