A girl ate ices in the red summer...


A girl ate ices
in the red summer. Bees
buzzed among the hydrangea,
heavy as plums.
Summer widened
its lens.
You would not believe
how happy she was;
her mother pulled her
through the pool till her hair
went soft. Below,
cracks spread in the vinyl
where her mother’s long legs
scissored; above, wet faces
in the sun smiled.
At dusk, lamps were lit,
Vs of geese swept past,
fresh sheets shivered
on the laundry line,
and as the nights grew crisp
our souls unfolded.
Then winter arrived.
The parents bent over the daughter
tucked in her bed….
Creaking from the cold,
the black walnut’s roots
swelled beneath the snow.
When spring came, the home
had tilted into the tree’s
long, crooked shadow. Nothing
was the same again.
Meghan O'Rourke



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Poem ©2010 Meghan O’Rourke. Used by permission. This poem originally appeared in The Kenyon Review. Collected in Once (W.W. Norton & Company, 2011).