summer in the time of quarantine

by phillip gillis

I.

there was:
no bell for the final day of school...
no celebration among children in the neighborhood...
no goodbyes or until next years...
no demarcation between this season and that...

II.

there was:
the family
(sometimes on the other end of a computer screen)
not within arms reach or the firm grasp of a hug
but there.
a hello and kiss blown across the driveway
(and through a window)
found its mark.

the woods behind the house
still held summer just waiting to be found.
a clearing in the brush with a narrow trail
to a makeshift circle of rocks with twigs piled in the middle create a campsite for a pair of brothers.
around them, “the great bursts of leaves”
still grow in the sunshine
(says Fitzgerald)
and life did indeed begin
again.

a sprinkler for the lawn or water hose in the backyard
both showered summer for all within their reach.
drenched in the season.

never alone.
always together.

Toni Morrison found it in a
“break into the tightness of a strawberry...”
and the strawberries are still around
and the dust still settles.

the music was there-
surrounding them…
carrying them…
away.
songs of the summer.
songs of OUR summer.

respite

the two most beautiful words
(according to Henry James)
in the history of the English language are…
“summer afternoon.”
that does not change.
it still awaits each evening.
just look and it is there.

III.

there was:
love.
friends.
family.

summer

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quotes/Writers Referenced:

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."
-F Scott Fitzgerald

"I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer – its dust and lowering skies."
-Toni Morrison

“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
-Henry James

Phillip Gillis is a teacher, writer, wanderer, semi-retired professional wrestler, and father of two beautiful children. He is also a proud native of Allensville, NC and grew up in a hardware store, C&G Supply Center.

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