A band concert under the trees; from a 1962 home movie.
Everyone seemed drawn to a central spot
between exhibit halls and away from the rides
where ancient, generous trees
offered blissful shade
dappled with sunshine devoid of heat.
In old church pews and wooden folding chairs
sat exhausted fair-goers. Mothers swished flies
away from babies napping in strollers,
older children zipped by just long enough
to beg for a dime for another ride
or a hot dog, then were gone, undaunted
by the heat shimmering up from the macadam paths.
Mostly there were elderly, especially in the pews:
men in straw fedoras and galluses, their white
summer shirts almost translucent with sweat,
and women wearing flowered calico dresses
and cardboard visors with some political candidate’s
name printed across the bill. Many waved fans
that showed Jesus at the Last Supper, with funeral home ads
on the other side, or programs from the harness races.
Some sipped Cokes or lemonade, pressing sweaty
waxed cups to their sweaty foreheads, and expressed
thanks to God and one another for the tall, sheltering trees,
then breathed deeply as though inhaling the shade
to cool them as the sun and temperature climbed.
I slept through the earthquake this morning (i.e., tremor; the epicenter of the actual earthquake was considerably farther west). My apartment is a combined ground floor/basement unit (I have to go down steps to reach it, but it opens out onto … Continue reading »