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That Summer

Honorable Mention — 2010 Poetry Contest

The sun rose to meet me late.
Pimpled and miserable under July sheets,
I had too many brothers with fists
like pistons, a mother who made me
iron or dust or leave her alone:
she had a headache.
My father—who wanted lights out,
no Donovan on the radio,
no Sunshine Superman at my window
waiting to blow my little mind.
Even night breezes refused to sift
through the screens for me. At fifteen,
I was wholly angst and gloom, my body,
too big or too small, that little itch
inside beginning to insist.
My mind raced or was slugged silly on Pepsi.

The boy I met at the county fair
never phoned, although, I called to him
all night in my dreams: be my mellow,
be my yellow, be my velvet high.
Idle outside my window, then
when my father isn't looking,
take me where the sun shines
a dozen shades of fire, a blaze so bright,
shadows are afraid to appear.
Take me away, then
before it's too late
before I'm completely gone.

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Contributors

Karla Huston, Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2017–2018, lives in Appleton, Wisconsin. Huston’s poems find their roots in the stories we tell, those memories which define us as human.

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