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  • Ellie Laabs

In Expectation of Summer


These, the crushed-cicada days.

Dry heat on brick, shoes quicken

under sweat. Everything feels trodden

one too many times. A smutty haze breathes

on the windowpane. The solstice will not come.

We are ice sculptures, you and I,

circling the storm drain on main street.

Voices echo from the sewers preaching

certain deliverance. You wipe your brow

with a water-logged shirt and stare at the mirage

at the road’s end as though it might be an object

of unparalleled fantasy.

You wear sleeves of grass stains,

you push up the earth. I laugh.

We run through fields like burnt, hungry beggars.

We are white to the touch. We are comatose in the sunshine.

The time is sweaty, catatonic.

The heart keeps sobbing in its sleep.

I curse as I cut the heads

off strawberries. I remind myself of my mother.

Someone’s undrunk drink cries

on the coffee table. My mind winds about

like a ball of rubber bands.

I do not try to strip the wrapping paper

off my soul. You do not ask me to.

Summer makes us naked anyhow.

I try to see the veins on my heart. I want to know

if they are blue. Sweat drips.

The body delivers itself again

and again in acute reconsecrations.


Ellie is a wise fool who recently graduated from St. John's College in Annapolis. She considers it her life's work to find the right words and the right ways to say them.

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