August

Frank X. Gaspar

First Published in The Kenyon Review, New Series, Summer 1986, Vol. VIII, No. 3

I wanted to show her the dawn
coming up over Truro, I wanted
the sky pulled down
like crepe after a dance.
She wanted me to be Odysseus
and tell her stories of that war
I went off to. She thought
my beard was strange, that I
had been wounded in some deep place
and she wanted to give me something.
August will make you drunk some nights,
gin and touching, the kind of talk
you stumble into, her idea
that two people who are not lovers
can keep something of the world
for themselves, the idea
that something taken from the world
can ever correspond exactly
with what is in any one of us—and more,
that we might recognize this when it happens.
For August the memory is perfect,
the places we touched, the grace
of scattered light drifting
over her cheeks, the runnels
of sand in her black hair,
the way she sucked at the air
after a rush of words,
and then the graying
of the sky down to the east
and the smell of bread as we rapped
on the bakery window
and took hot loaves back to the shore
where a single fishing boat awash in light
pulled a skirt of gulls across the harbor,
its diesel thumping like a heart.

Back to top ↑

Sign up for Our Email Newsletter