Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Summer Afternoon

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Summer afternoon, summer afternoon;
to me those have always been the two most
beautiful words in the English language.
–Henry James

One June day, after attending a wedding,
we are driving down a country road

past banks starred with daylilies
on our way to another party,

feeling married and enclosed
as rain flecks our windows,

lashing the car, the road, the grasses,
the bright and hot transformed

into a blue-green, swaying, seaweedy crossing,
the grasses and lilies bearing down

and we immerse ourselves, too, like swimmers
headed across a body of water,

on a summer's passage
to the next island or point across the bay,

hoping our stamina will not fail.
Lately, one or the other of us has been lagging,

as if we suffer from the same anomaly—
a hole in the heart—

that brought on the stroke
from which our daughter haltingly recovers.

We step out into moisture dripping from trees,
as on long-ago vacations up in Canada or New Hampshire

when I was a child or we had children,
when this sort of start

boded how the whole day would be—
not very summery.

But we insisted on it being summer,
and so it was.

*Previously published in Music Lesson (FutureCycle Press, 2019)


Kristen Staby Rembold‘s most recent book is a collection of poetry, Music Lesson, published by FutureCycle Press. She also has published a novel, Felicity, winner of Mid-List Press First Fiction Series Award, and two poetry chapbooks, Leaf and Tendriland Coming into This World. Her writing has appeared in many literary journals and periodicals including Southern Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Literary
Mama, Crab Orchard Review, Appalachia, and New Ohio Review.


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