The only way I can remember late May in the Blue Ridge
is with my fingers in my hair, as if touching the stamen of a bloodroot.
Our AC unit blew a fuse and we passed a soaked washcloth
from neck to neck, listening to a black fly infiltrate a pile of lemons.
The Watauga River still flows thick with yellow-green
pollen near an angler who, stripped to his underwear, lounges
under an ash with a thermos of lemonade. Sweat drips over his eyes
and he doesn’t watch a box turtle lift its orange-throated head
off an exposed beech root. An indigo bunting babbles.
In the next field, twin rifles like off-beat drummers.
Nothing moves. Even the water moccasins are lazy –
Your mother says she and her mother will return to Ecuador.
I imagine it’s just as foreign to her in Ossining,
as it’s to us in our un-oscillating Brooklyn heat, the Manhattan skyline
on a day liberated of cumulus. If they strand you
will I be able to comfort? Sometimes
I think the German Idealists are right and the mind
is a marooned beast pacing from rose to oak.
Love, a periscope futilely pressing through an ice shelf.
I loved running around the communal cane press,
you told me. When we burned the bagasse, it was so unclean
not even hornets that clung to spigots laden with drying juice endured.
I begged for a stalk to suck. How strange to never see this.