~a Cento

Frizzled air rises from the bleating of wool.
Fruit cannot drop through this thick air.

By June our brook’s run out of song and speed,
gone underground like ghost
of sleigh bells in a ghost of snow.

We ate the salmon-fleshed Crenshaw
she’d brought in from the field
and chilled since yesterday.

The skipping rope twirls in the driveway after dinner.
The last crying baby sleeps and the night
becomes still as a whispering heartbeat.
The cat walks up the drive
a dead baby rabbit in her maw.

The lessening day might close,
but air of other summers
breathed from beyond the snows.

To think…this meaningless thing
was ever a rose, scentless, colorless, this!

Summer…too imperceptible
at last, made her escape
into the Beautiful.

From: Federico Garćia Lorca, “Thamar and Ammon.” H.D., “Heat.”
Robert Frost, “Hyla Brook.” Albert Garcia, “July Evening.”
Phyllis McGinley, “June in the Suburbs.” Langston Hughes,
“Summer Night.” James Schuyler, “I Think.” A. E. Housman,
“When Summer’s End is Nighing.” Christina Rossetti,
“Summer is Ended.” Emily Dickinson, “As Imperceptibly as Grief.”