summer is here

IMG_1132 Officially or not, summer is here.

First Year Teacher to His Students

Go now into summer, into the backs of cars,

into the black maws of your own changing,

onto the boardwalks of a thousand splinters,

onto the beaches of a hundred fond memories

in wait, where the sea in all its indefatigability

stammers at the invitation. Go to your vacation,

to the late morning cool of your basement rooms,

the honeysuckle evening of the first kiss, the first

dip and pivot, swivel and twist. Go to where

the clipper ships sail far upriver, where the salmon

swim in the clean, cool pools just to spawn.

Wake to what the spider unspools into a silver

dawn dripping with light. Sleep in sleeping bags,

sleep in sand, sleep at someone else's house

in a land you've never been, where the dreamers

dream in a language you only half understand.

Slip beneath the sheets, slide toward the plate,

swing beneath the bandstand where the secret

things await. Be glad, or be sad if you want,

but be, and be a part of all that marches past

like a parade, and wade through it or swim in it

or dive in it with your eyes open and your mind

open to wind, rain, long days of sun and longer

nights of city lights mixing on wet streets like paint.

Stay up so late that you forget day-of-the-week,

week-of-the-month, month-of-the-year of what

might be the best summer, the summer

best remembered by the scar, or by the taste

you'll never now forget of someone's lips,

and the trips you took—there, there, there,

where snow still slept atop some alpine peak,

or where the moon rose so low you could see

its tranquil seas...and all your life it'll be like

some familiar body that stayed with you one night,

one summer, one year, when you were young,

and how everywhere you walked, it followed.