Iced Tea Mirages, Glass Dreams, Thoughts on July and Adolescence This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

July 19, 2010
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I sigh under the shade, looking
out across the wildflowers and the
mirror duck pool to the twisting
brick chimney and the water
wheel's gentle marimba. Inside
that cave my brother watches in
rapture as their magic hands twist
impossibilities from molten sand,
too enchanted to complain of the
apple-cider heat.

And it is HOT. The sky beams and sweats flustered over the tangles
of reeds and the prim English gardens.
The men in overalls and pastel-painted carousel ponies with
melting faces know.
The sun sucks sound and silence from the air, leaving unsettling if
But my brother doesn't realize, they've captured him
with their fragile jellyfish.

Here, in the grass blanket under the
mulberry grove, the air is like a mirage, whispering the smell of iced tea.
Brown-green and icy,
crisp and verdant and not too sweet,
savored through a macaroni straw like
I did when my eleventh birthday
was here and my friends and I wove
laughing awkward like little starfish
with a leg too many, crawling
through the strains of ragtime music. It makes my mouth

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