Thinking While Sitting Outside in August This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

It’s the days like these that seem
to fill the deep well of my existence,
each fluid hour dripping
into the next.

The sky is always a shocking
August blue, blazing with sun.
But it’s a more vivid blue now,
a deeper more intense blue

like it weren’t a color,
but a sensation floating amid the clouds.

And the blazing sun seems to burn hotter,
my skin feeling it deeper
to my bones;
the marrow boils.

But the day will continue into night
like it always does,
the same constant flow
of a creek green with algae.

The darkness meanders in slowly
and then the thick air parts as we march
through it.
Through it from cars with empty gas tanks
to frigid houses with air conditioning,
hermetically sealed like tombs.

From the steamy Outside
we cross over, Inside,

where boys, smelling sweetly
of beer and tangy sweat,
and days spent mowing lawns
and lifeguarding pools,
lean in closer to speak above
the din of music and chatter.

Him: bold and drunk
You: feeling the heat of his arm brush your bare skin,
a question
to which you’re not sure you know the answer.

But still his skin is there
like a butterfly touching down
on a lilac bush.
Curious insects,
they flutter and touch,

flutter and touch.
And you smile a closed sort of smile
and let him put his arm around you

because it happened the night before
and will happen tomorrow night as well.
Stuck inevitably in a churning water mill
of nights and places

and skies that are too blue
and butterfly boys who drink
cheap beer.

Slowly the water churns
and its tempestuous black surface ripples
distorting your reflection;
it churns and
churns and

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