Other Summers

i. Austinville 1950

Belly blackened
from tire swings,
summer was
osh kosh easy.

In steaming kitchens
women wiped brows
over jelly cauldrons.

Ginny hung clothes
and listened to
white children prattle.

Grandpa bought
bushel baskets
of peaches.

And I spent time
hiding out from
the cistern,
the storm cellar
and the dark

ii. Arizona 1961

In Arizona
summer nights
are like toast.

On parents’ patios
we learned about

I was standing
at the clothesline
when they told me
Mama was dying.

iii. Contempo West 1964

Emma Lou
got knocked up
I dropped

lived on
and watermelon.

Across New Mexico,
fat Indians
chased us.

iv. Carmel 1966

Bryn ran away,
hiding out in Big Sur
with older men.

I hung out with
her brother
in her bedroom

listening to
electronic music
and Leadbelly.