’Twas a long summer of thin air
after Vera Iliatova’s ‘Cruel Month’ (2010)
Of a drier Sahara. Of the sun living late
into the nights; waking before dawn. Of
cattledeaths and heatstrokes. Of brown
cities in a gas chamber. Of distant, trailing
hawkcalls. The green leaves wilted and
yellowed without water, trees paler than
most autumns. The mileaway forest
nothing more than the sound of matches
striking before fire. Of silent roofs. Of
lesser friendly-visits and evening strolls.
Of hiked up refrigerator sales. Children
visiting more icecream parlours than
classes at school. ’Twas a summer when
one afternoon I was brown bamboo sticks.
I was salted chips. ’Twas a cruel summer
of starved deaths. Of dead lakes. Of
ORS’s and electrolyte imbalances. ’Twas
a lazy summer of wasted time. A long
summer of a sixty-day July.
Jayant Kashyap is the author of Survival (Clare Songbirds, 2019) and Unaccomplished Cities (Ghost City Press, 2020). His other ekphrastic poems can be found in The Ekphrastic Review, Visual Verse, and elsewhere. Website: https://giantketchup.wordpress.com/