Here are the long, stagnant days
when the wind no longer stirs the leaves,
gilded with drought.
The heavy air settles close to the ground,
smothering everything but children’s laughter
and the droning calls of cicadas.
Which would I rather be?
Both of them run free through the stale air,
and both die when the heat dissipates.
A child stoops to pick one up,
marvelling at its diaphanous wings
before crushing it in his little hand.
The crunching sound cuts through the silence
as green liquid oozes through the cracks in the shell
and the cracks in the child’s fingers.
Wiping his hand on his pants, he moves on
and discards the corpse
without a care.
Then, he skips off into the distance
scuffing the dirt in that familiar rhythm
kicking up a cloud behind him.
After the sun sets and the cicadas have gone quiet,
I follow his tracks with a small plastic bag.
Gingerly, I pick up the corpse.
Like the child, I admire
how it's wings shine in the moonlight
and slip it into my bag.
The trail of scuff marks lead to a playground,
dripping with the smell of decay.
I cannot see where it is coming from.
I perch myself on the swing
and notice that I have outgrown it,
as the cold plastic digs into my hips.
From my vantage point, I stare blankly into the drying field.
All is silent, all is still, as my ghost pale legs
kick through the air to move the swing.
My childhood went down the drain with the heavy July rains,
was left to evaporate after the early morning thunderstorms
and now I am in stasis with the thick August air.
I spent the last summer of my childhood in bed with depression while my friends were on vacation.