August the Fourth

by Christopher Raley

 

Judgement is one hundred degrees and over,

a pressure on bare head and shirted back.

Eyelids squint in glare off concrete

and yellow grass, fixed white eye

burning reflected from metal and glass.

Judgement is the door and judgement the oven’s blast

on skin and hands lifting for protection.

The burning is repentance in revulsion

but feet move to claim distance.

 

Judgement is one hundred degrees and over

but grace is August the fourth

just before midnight.  Little punctuations of sound

bring the weary from bed.

Dark hallway, dark living room silent

in air conditioning’s absent groan.

You listen in solitary absolution

for window tapping to tell what is known.

A studied view of street light:

rain streaks yellow canvass,

makes music on fading leaves

and dances into parched squares of lawn.

 

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