Summer Afterthoughts

Whatever the day was for
it didn’t happen. All the chores
are wearing work clothes. An hour
spent wondering
what owls dream, another thinking
in new shoes all the way
along the wash and back home for lunch.
Every day the same blank page.
Surely we were meant for more than
dusting, sweeping and cleaning floors.
Surely the sun has something to say
about fire in the soul
and a taste of ashes on the wind,
something that writes a sentence
from which there is no turning back
or a vision from so deep inside the mind
it will not recognize itself, the kind
of things fathers never spoke of
but they knew where cleaning rags
were kept and that work was work
was work. Do the owls see mice that fly?
Do they hold out their claws
to be sharpened by moonlight
when they flow in liquid flight. Traffic
moves slowly on the early news
and another hiker on a desert trail
couldn’t tell how hot
it was. The mockingbirds knew
and took shelter. Empty sky.
Shadows on the sidewalk
curling at their edges. High noon.
Still August in September.

David Chorlton lived in Vienna for most of the 1970s before moving to Phoenix. It was an exchange of wind and rain for the desert heat and a cultural shift. He has a non-fiction book published this year that tells the story of a 1961 murder near Vienna, for which one of his cousins was wrongly convicted. That is "The Long White Glove," from New Meridian Arts. Read other articles by David.