Melissa McEwan – “Summer-Life” – A Poem


Year after year the young sisters spent almost-whole summers
in Thomasville, AL, in that white house owned
by Grandpa and Grandma Burroughs, surrounded
by flowers and bees and hummingbirds and all that
sunshine, but with nothing to do. Front porch sitting, watermelon
eating, Coke drinking, soap-opera watching, thunder listening—such was summer-life
for them from the beginning of July till the end of August. They complained
that the days were the same, counted them down to when they’d be back
in the backseat of the station wagon backing out the driveway, waving
their goodbyes and see-you-soons, heading back
to Connecticut.

But when they speak about it now, they speak about how
it’s been ages since they’ve been back. They speak about the watermelons
and how the ones in Stop & Shop got nothing on them. They speak
about the hummingbirds and can’t remember the last time they
saw one. And how The Soaps just aren’t the same as when they were on
that floor model TV that took up most of the living room. They speak
about the house and the upstairs bedroom with the radio that their Grandpa kept on
the windowsill because it picked up stations best there. They’d go back there
if they could, give anything to go back, if only for a second, to when their
Grandpa and Grandma were as alive as them.