A Summer Evening

Clouds mourning for time passed
Quench the fierce heat of these last weeks.
They permit now only gold and rosy light,
With just a touch of purple.

I taste the refreshed air,
Watching the shapes of girls in summer dresses,
While pipesmoke twists and curls up to the ceiling
And I sip my wine slowly.

Strawberries are summer kisses.
Extravagant sweetness swiftly disappears
And it looks as it these will be
The last of the season.

The child who should by now be fast asleep
Is leaving gentle chaos in his wake.
He bangs against the unrelenting table
And cracks an empty glass.

My crouching car waits for the last farewell.
It's engine shatters the silence of the still night air.
Headlamps sweep the streets like greedy eyes
And catch late lovers in a clinical embrace.
Then, like dogs forgetting old, dry sticks
When beckoned home, they ruch into the night,
Dragging their master on a straining leash
Towards another day.

© Peter Howard

first published in Vigil 1988