All Summer Long

336A1005



The dogs eat hoof slivers and lie under the porch.

A strand of human hair hangs strangely from a fruit tree

like a cry in the throat. The sky is clay for the child who is past

being tired, who wanders in waist-deep

grasses. Gnats rise in a vapor,

in a long mounting whine around her forehead and ears.


The sun is an indistinct moon. Frail sticks

of grass poke her ankles,

and a wet froth of spiders touches her legs

like wet fingers. The musk and smell

of air are as hot as the savory

terrible exhales from a tired horse.


The parents are sleeping all afternoon,

and no one explains the long uneasy afternoons.

She hears their combined breathing and swallowing

salivas, and sees their sides rising and falling

like the sides of horses in the hot pasture.


At evening a breeze dries and crumbles

the sky and the clouds float like undershirts

and cotton dresses on a clothesline. Horses

rock to their feet and race or graze.

Parents open their shutters and call

the lonely, happy child home.

The child who hates silences talks and talks

of cicadas and the manes of horses.


by Carol Frost (b. 1948 )


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