I love waking up to the bright light of early morning
and walking outside to an already hot day
and smelling the smells of cut grass or water from
rain or sprinklers, evaporating in the sun.
I love sandwiches for lunch
with a side of pineapple
or fresh peaches,
pimento cheese has grown on me over the years.
I love the look and glorious smell
of fresh-picked squash cooking
in the cast iron skillet on the stove.
Or the sound of peas cooking in the bubbling water,
bouncing them around, tossing them to and fro
until they are tender and done.
I love afternoon naps in the heat of the day
and damp towels left over from water play
or dips in friends’ pools.
I love the angle of the sun through the windows
at 4:30 in the afternoon. That’s the time my Daddy
always came home, the same time he went Home.
That light is spectacular.
I love the way children emerge from their homes
to play and ride bikes and run up and down the sidewalk,
their little legs pumping and jumping,
when the sun starts its journey downwards behind the trees.
I love the way the frogs start to come out
and sing their songs as evening comes to visit. Their songs
a serenade the breeze dances along to, teasing all around
with moments of believing it might one day be cool again.
I love the bathwater warm muggy nights, when sweat collects
and drips on little heads and big
and how, even though we are all hot and sweaty, we are loathe
to climb off the back of the pickup trucks where we sit and visit
to go inside.
I love the cool air that hits my face and the comfort of a warm shower
to wash the day away.
Or a cool one, the boy says that helps when he’s itchy from
rolling in the grass and talking with the bugs
as they crawl back home to rest.
I love all the hot and humid days and evenings and nights that
barely relieve us from the heat of noon. I love bare feet on warm
grass and the smell of sunshine on puppies and tomatoes off the vine.
I love sweating as I stand and laugh with friends, passing the evening sharing
stories and recounting adventures of days gone by.
It was as though I had forgotten all of this,
grumbling, staring wide-eyed at the dashboard thermometer, until–
this evening as I carried out the trash, I took a deep breath
of heavy summer air,
and I remembered my love
for Georgia summers
and all the stories she has shared with us.
I looked up at the stars, nearly visible,
and I remembered–people and stories–hot summers
spent with people I love.
They are gone,
but she remains with me
and holds me close
as I stand with her and