Seventh Summer

 

A not so rare November day

that impersonates June,

 

bisque of sun,

Ligurian sky

 

when Sylvia, from the mailroom,

who walks with a cane,

 

/diabetes to claim

her right foot by spring/

 

joins me outside for a forbidden smoke.

 

Beautiful day, I say.

How do we make sense of it?

says Sylvia’s face

 

before casting alarm at the glaciers

melting in Alaska

 

and I share what I’ve heard

about the snow crab season

 

Cancelled, I tell her.

95% gone.

I can’t stop thinking of the fishermen, I say,

about to lose their livelihoods.

 

And all those people just being born,

she pines,

never knowing the sweetness of crab.

 

 

Delicata

 

Leo [the farmer] will die this afternoon,

forehead damp with kisses

from Gene [the tractor supplier]

and Dusty [the grower of feed corn],

queer but summoned gestures

from sturdy men

who talk with their hands.

 

Home remedies for Leo

meant the clench of his gut

metastasized

like the summer squash

in his tomato beds.

 

Goddamn volunteers.

 

We knew Leo from his blue eggs

and spiral notepad in his chest pocket

and honor stand on the side of the road.

Take what you want.

Leave your money in the jar.

 

He stood tightwire

on wood ladders to repair the plastic

of his hoop house with duct tape

and fed composting scraps

to a blind raccoon

[who stuck around].

 

Leo will die as so many farmers die,

shallow of air,

tallying from his bed,

wondering if he should have returned to church

all those years back

[when his wife begged him to],

 

the spent soil
of hundreds of thousands of fingerling potatoes

making rich, verdant crops

of his nails.

 

 

 

Christy Prahl

Christy Prahl is the author of the collection We Are Reckless (Cornerstone Press, 2023). A Best of the Net and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her past and future publications include the Penn Review, Salt Hill Journal, Eastern Iowa Review, and others. She has held residencies at both Ragdale and the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow and is the founder of the PenRF reading series. She splits her time between Chicago and rural Michigan and appreciates subways and siloes in equal measure. More of her work can be found at christyprahl.wixsite.com/christy-prahl.

 

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