Tomatoes, summer’s first
by Dan Alter
and this one is for Michigan, for her latticed rivers, for her fireflies tickering the dark which is made of muslin, which cloaks the lush of her long grasses. and this one is for an M., at campfire, steel strings and voices leaning into Saturday evening, for her jacket which has fluttered down denim onto so skinnyshoulders, and for the canoeable rivers which scud down from Canada to fill the mother lake, and also for the temerity of the fireflies, which are blinking orange mini–blimps,
and this is for her fingers, hummed into the damp of my palm, and this one is for patrolling nightwatch in Michigan, the evening melted, pointillistic, separating into a fizz, and her mouth, spilling words quick as minnows, on a walk stolen from the back shelves like chocolate from baby–sitting pantries.
and how, unused cabin with cloudy moonlight slivering, your mouth floated to my mouth, and this is for kissing you on the squeak of cot springs, with the whisk of screen door, and this for that door, for its sad belly, humidity–aching hinges, on it the yearning mosquitoes arrayed, for your tongue which was kind and placed me in a room full of sugar bursting at the nerve–root, firing the body’s dark with match–head flashes, that was the sweep of your friendliness, spitting out sour salty in the corner and my fingers sent away from elastic of panties, and this is for the panties on your untouched crotch then M., maybe blue as a Kalamazoo sky, or pink as baby bottom under diaper, but were no color for me, just a last door, and their worn cotton thread count kept within jeans on goose–bump legs, and this is for the jeans jacket, which was for seeming older than we were, for the faithfulness of its stitching, and M., in the cavernous kitchen where the mops hang crusting, under the blue light of bug zappers, among the suspended pots I will always gaze at you through my hazel eyes with the filters off, only two nights for us and I still watch you tapping on the bruised aluminum bellies of saucepans, talking us off to a market stall in Mexico, how we would know the flushed taste of tomatoes at summer’s first bursting.
and this is finally for M., stepping through a creak screen door swinging back on where she had spit, for the pinecones of kindness on cabin shading branches, for five fingers slightly sweaty, for voices braided with guitar strum, swallowed by night, and then the morning coming with all the opened doors swung back shut, but the shut ones
smiling as they take their places back in the single–file procession of time, with the firefly maple–tops and the dark–swaddled Junegrasses, washed in the webbing of rivers running from ice ages endlessly down to their lake.