In Which Summertime You Again Chase Bear
The first morning you wake up burrowed between his wet sheets, you ask if he suffers a problem. By lunch, your boss pulling you aside to crack knock-knock-who’s-there-girl-who-gets-tumbled-and-peed-on punchlines. In front of the children you chastise for eating nothing but French fries for lunch in this their summer haven. By dinner, the sheets he launders with two wilting lilac branches and you let yourself be sweetened. Can they see that you are sweating hops and rye?
In the heat dome, lie not touching, windows naked, open temptation for the breeze to slip the spaces between the walls of the old staffhouse, calm the resident mice, your shared heat-immune scurry, so you can get some damn sleep. Your body is a canvas for allergy, the touch of his bare skin.
That summer, you practice the art of lying to children about things they think they know, about things they know they know but five senses can’t prove. The art of lying to children relies on not being too hung-over to remember your previous lies.
You’ve overcome other psychosomatic symptoms, forcing segments of chocolate to savour the belly of hives, the thighs of hives, the neck swollen hives –
When she visits, clasp his Colorado girlfriend’s hand, your palms talcum because you’ve sweated all your sugared water in puddles at his feet, when the creek overflowed its banks years ago in puddles formed by the knees of another and take note that she’s sweeter than you even with the cigarette smell staining her. The first morning you wake up burrowed between alone. If you could, would you drag her into the clutch of trees where prepubescent girls conduct their private circle and ask how often she woke – wakes – to his wet sheets, shares intimate things with strangers, hears the lilt of another on his sunkiss-chapped lips?
The art of lying to teenagers about things they think they know about things they know they know because they can smell him, the sugar of him on your freshly laundered shirts.
By August it’s goodbye to summertime again, to feeling like chewing late raspberries the bear has picked through, bitter as festive holly to sweeten you.