Patricia Horn O'Brien

Brief Summer

August 2, 2018



Not much more than a shack

among rows of shacks, it rises


out of Long Beach sand, spiny

twitch grass and interlocking


gravel paths.  The ocean's

somnolent measure


of summer lengthens its hours,

the hours passing, nonetheless.  Does Mrs. Doyle,


my mother's country mouse friend,

know the earth's steady speed


is relentless?  She folds line-dried sheets

onto the kitchen chair and instructs me,


her guest, to sit on its rising

white stack, my sandy feet lifting   


off the linoleum floor. Ironing, Mrs. Doyle

calls it. And when, dinner’s last dish done,


our breaths mingle with the lift

of crackling sheets we sail across


our waiting beds, summer’s swift advance

one moment held.














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