Posted in Poetry

That Summer

This poem was published in A Book of the Year 2017, the anthology of first place poems from the Poetry Society of Texas annual contests. Now that it’s July, when we’re steeped in Texas summer, it seems like a good time to share it with you. Plus, I just got home from spending a few days with my wonderful family, so I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. I hope “That Summer” takes you back to some of your favorite summer memories.

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That Summer

I sat on a threadbare pink towel
on top of the ice cream maker
my dad and grandfather
taking turns at the crank
my grandmother
slicing homegrown peaches

my fingers stained
from hammering black walnuts
on the anvil in the backyard
the skin of my palms raw
from gripping the rope swing
in the hackberry tree

my mom in shorts and sandals
a glass of iced tea
sweating in her hand
my brother eating
a smile of watermelon
juice dripping down his chin

lightning bugs blinking
a slow Morse code
hummingbirds in the trumpet vine
bare feet and dirty knees
and the voices of my family
hovering in a comforting cloud

I’d like to reach back
and catch that summer
in an empty pickle jar
poke holes in the lid
and keep it for a while
warm and safe in my hands

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© Carie Juettner
First Place in the Poetry Society of Texas Campbell Prize, 2016
First Published in A Book of the Year 2017