June Fading

September 1, 2007
By Naomi Glassman, Somerville, NJ

June Fading its the commencement, yet also the end and for a while youre uncertain as to which term is more honest, which is more hallmark but then the world to come becomes viscerally real raw and possible, stretching wintry and open outside the rear doors of the local high school: life and self-reliance forcing themselves through new vessels, pushing aside last vestiges of childwarmth and innocence as the adult themes conquer fresh hosts, still capped and gowned and then the world behind becomes tragic nostalgia and your eyes feel frozen and wet - you remember: every shy, jumpered, girl - bubblegum breath, fragile hands gingerly touching the world, exploring the light of April afternoons, unspotted and pure freedom of Saturday, innocent nakedness in thick summer heat a set of wondering eyes, holding the world as a clean adventure embedded all across with gentle knights, illuminated by at least one million diaphanous faeries, sunglow melting tears, raindrops, so that they all flowed together to create a surging river which hydrated all the great world you remember them: turned broken youth, pressed up against the door of a gritty bathroom stall sobbing into sick walls trafficked by graffiti and haphazard blotches of whitewash: janitorial edits fashionably ragged denim stuck around bruised thighs, flimsy fishnet sleeves cast over mutilated forearms, sharp tang of firstlove, firstloss, biting hard at the backs of mouths like the aftertaste of toothpaste, tainting all you pallet after heavybellied pockets of sex and switchblades, paternal monsters, civil suits in family court on Saturdays pregnant sisters in grade school swathing gently swollen abdomens in oversized sweaters, until the encounter, under living room lights grave for the family pet, euthanized mid afternoon, distended gut, velvet coat molded into a wirebrush by death grandmas November stroke, early morning family phonechains grandpas December funeral, stale eulogies just before the holidays, and a Christmas where no one bothered to attend evening mass rape of a close friend before the New Year, embrace in Triage, the fluorescence pulled over like an awful cape, self-blame cast as weights around the ankles of anyone who cared arrest of the teacher following scandalous allegations, and the nauseated faculty, soft faces of those young girls become indelible portraits hung in the mind suicide just before the grey forever of February was turned aside by the most beautiful March, messy flesh shroud of bullet and blood spattered up onto the skylights, daddys pistol and babys grateful mouth: [daddy couldnt keep his hands to himself] suddenly two square inches of yearbook pagespace, slightly worn, is all that there is left of a person, aspiring President, beautiful boy incarcerated teammates, inkstained wrists locked with handcuffs remnants of last weeks calculus notes lining sweating palms, handfuls of crack spotting tracksuits like Satans talcum powder impounded Honda, birthday gift of reluctant parents, totaled prom king, ejected out through the sunroof onto the interstate, following a springbreak collision: thirty-six empty aluminum cans, one settled coffin, one DUI, one vengeful brother, one bloody shooting a few young hopefuls, recruiting lounging locks to cropped blonde ash camouflage vests strapped against outthrust chests, [little sacrifices] executed in May somewhere cold and dusty, purple felt hearts, black vinyl bodybags - sometimes, the things worth screaming are the things nobody wants to hear - undersides of arms scored by razorblades and transparent cigarette lighters with blistering burns and achy slits, skin embossed with experience Senior year spent cocooned in spun metal and fire, not ready for June, and they finally fall down from grace, from the overpass into the snow: unconscious on the violent highway of life theres an auditorium stage: deepred sashes drawn back on either side framing the assemblage in crimson curtain: 200 generational miracles, smiley shutters containing the storm inside demure trimmings leaning sloppily off drooping shoulders the perfection of the ceremony compromised by ill-fitted gowns, nervous bodies mouthfuls of groomed oratory, grace of those traditional adults, [all Board of Education, system, administrative value] anesthetizes the graduates for a final time, so you are spared the true pain of separation [the Last Act of Mercy] at the break in the earth, before the grave opens, all the ‘grown ones stand, as you graduate, dressed and so slightly jaded applauding with their physical, obvious bodies while the only authentic hands, those of their souls, press the shovels into the wet ground, turning heaps of dense soil back onto the open grave, entombing all the little left of childhood, forever the clamor behind the noise of ovation is stiff spade against dirt, earth falling down against 200 miracles, all youth and breath those scrolls, each palmed individually by the tall superintendent are suddenly just paper weaves stuck with patterns of ink, and that carefully measured walk abruptly becomes ridiculous when the audience of catcalling relations and prideful peers dissolves back into the bland seatfabric of the many old chairs, replaced momentarily by all those who drowned in adolescence, although long before theyd been taught to swim; you feel guilty for not having stopped to pull up their heads, to save them until you grasp that the shore isnt all that it was painted to be, the sand is fractionated and coarse, more cutting than ever the sun stiff and high, bundled among the thick, black, clouds of Reality and all the sea has evaporated back up into the depressed sky the last moments, cut against the clean wood of the platform, held under the pointed glow of the stage spotlight, those last shining seconds are the dullest in your life, for the last real June, the last real year is finally fading

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