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Poem of the Week by William C. Connolly

The Last Days of Summer

By William C. Connolly

Can you not in the midst of night

Stare into a pool of clear water and see your own

Sure grief – stare into the sun and be not enlightened?

Lucretius, Ethereal Fires

Memory is now a mystery to me

As dreams have been

As memories seem to be dreams

As remembered faces seem to be ghosts

Wandering in the unknown alleys of the mind

Spectres without speech nor any sound

Fading, answering no calls

No urgency of summons –

Receding into seeming death again

Their dream-like circuits

Another death and then no more remembered

Why are those voices absent

When the pool of clear still water in the garden

Answers only with the face of doubt?

The last day of summer and its doubt,

Its invisible hurt

The signaled sky of afternoon, the light aslant at last

And the corpulent trees in agitated thrashing

In the face of the first chill coughing of uncertainty and qualm

What signaled power in the cloud world’s romantic opalescence

In the urgent showers of gold and rose milk in the lake

And the river shivering in these early spills of rays and shafts

From the unexpected coughings of a hopeful wind

Its surges overfolding all these illustrations of reflecting surface,

Of mirrored seas like burnished glass, accepting the emptying blue above

What vectored hopelessness above the highways stretching out to

Cities of irredemption and their spires of greed

Aspiring to the substances of honey and its smears of smarm

In its alluring silvered silken air, its frolic ships of enfeebled sprees

Silence in the sunlight, in the frantic festivals of necessary superfluidity,

Of afterguilts and panicked hesitations and the slow accommodation

To the realm of time depleted of acceleration like fluids surrendering their surfaces

To the air, to nothingness

These are the last days of summer

No semaphore of certitudes

No cooling healing air from vagrant nowhere

But seen and felt as manna somehow

Undeserved, accepted nonetheless

Buffalo area native WILLIAM C. CONNOLLY lives, works and writes in Washington, D.C.