The immense still heat trapped the day like amber:
seeped into the lodgepoles and the ponderosas,
immobilized the blue air, hovered over the lake
that dispatched idle waves to lap the sand.
The taste of coffee lingering in my mouth, on my hand
the smell of you, dust smell rising from the path.
It was the hottest summer on record.
The sun made idle progress of shadows
across the path; the taste of dust lingered in the air,
the grasshoppers’ shrill shirr-shirr-shirr hung
heavy in the heat, neverending.
Where was I in all of this? I was the footprint
trod beneath the lodgepole pine, the dazzled wave
sacrificed to beachsand, the grasshopper
immobilized by heat somewhere in dry grass,
invisible, as that great endless summer
lingered like the smell of you, the taste of you
through that hot hot day.
A prompt from NaPoWriMo.com incites us to base a poem on words from an admired poem; I’ve been reading Gary Snyder’s work, admiring the way he pulls single experiences out of time and suspends them, as here. From his long ago mid-August, the heat, the high still air, more or less, came this.