by Ken Harnisch

August is hot, stuffy, orange-black nights,
The air so thick you can hold it in your hand.

Your clothes are drapes:
Loose and cottony, flung on with the sole intention
Of staving off the humid flypaper of an August day

The lawns are the color of toast; the trees
Less verdant than they were in June.
Cicadas chortle at your misery
In the soon to be dying leaves.

The crack of thunderheads and the twisted
Tines of blue lightning make you run out
In hopes you will be the happy victim
Of an orgasm of rain

But the rain disappoints, or it
Soaks you to the skin and you
Stand before the scarab windows
Waiting for the sun
The relentless, dusty ball of sun
That has driven you mad in the
First place and come around
Again for another strafing.

You see men standing on the pavement
With their shovels and canteens
And you wonder who could be so mad
As to toil in such heat. And if you chance
To wipe the sweat from a brow
That will not dry, you may remember
It was you, once, who looked
Upon the desiccated faces behind the glass
And in the shade, and mocked those
Who thought August so intolerable

It is then you understand
Why August is oft regarded
As the most-thumbed page
In the Book of Growing Old.


Posted on 08/19/2010
Copyright © 2023 Ken Harnisch

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by George Hoerner on 08/19/10 at 12:26 PM

The August rain is a tease to the plants. So light that the roots start growing up not unlike old men. Good write Ken.

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 08/19/10 at 09:31 PM

I live in a resort area. We look at August as the end to the "madness". It's been hot, sticky and busy. Can't wait 'til Labor Day- in this town; it's a holiday.

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