Summer Child

      ​      ​Everything is repeated, in a circle. History is
      ​      ​a master because it teaches us that it doesn’t
      ​      ​exist.

      ​      ​            —Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

This summer is finally nearing its end.
I can smell distant fires, oak smoke
and cherrywood, on the shifting wind.

All but dormant, yellowing
grasses don’t need to be cut,
and milkweed already seeds the air.

I rake a few overeager leaves
into a pile too small to cover me
as I am now, but large enough

to bury the child I used to be.
That child used to hide with his dog,
a collie his father named Rebel,

in the kennel beneath the Dutch elm
to avoid the evening news and all
the violent stories he knew brought him

one step closer to adulthood every night.
And now that future he worked so hard
to avoid has become his present,

and he and I set the rake aside
and lie down upon the tiny pile of leaves.
We look up through branches

into a fractured sky for a hint of sunlight,
but we can’t see past the smoke
of all the fires that refuse to die.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Handwritten & Co. as ‘While Doing Yard Work’.

Kip Knott’s most recent full-length book of poetry is Clean Coal Burn (Kelsay Books). More of his writing may be accessed at

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