by Richard King Perkins II
At the Front Edge of Summer
its predictable eruptions dialing an ageless code:
magnolias and acacia absorb soft orange flutes,
the cat skates in the ditch
mousing leaves in the wind,
unencumbered by thistle,
pouncing up to startle a rabbit into motion,
stretched to a sprint,
leaving behind a spread of honeystalks
arrived on limpid wafts,
freshly arisen from the peat of sighs and vines,
revealed as the heart’s rarest seedling.
Forgotten friends who have given
comfort in restless hours,
above the Chinese restaurant,
the stacked columns of take-out containers,
soliloquies of open tables,
celebrations of nourishment and enrichment,
how we parted after sharing a final meal.
Then the thought process of truth,
where one movement only prevents another,
rain spread lightly as butterflies,
reversing flight, the first element of darkness,
fear departs as fog,
a supple plea attaching to the pink mist of morning
that rises to my eyes.
How vital and random the dew on my lashes,
the burrs clinging to the calico hair.
So much greater are we to see
above the slope of this minor stillness.
Cruelty and fertility live on opposite sides of the world—
but it is a tiny world no more than four feet in circumference.
Uncertain men ripen in the shallows of secret glass
like eolithic stars. They stare at women out walking alone
in a buttercup tangle, who collectively find a pond obscured in
pinwheel moonlight, and dance, killing fish with their fingertips,
while the men return to working crossword puzzles in the dark.
Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Writing for six years, his work has appeared in more than a thousand publications including The Louisiana Review, Bluestem, Emrys Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Roanoke Review, The Red Cedar Review and The William and Mary Review. He has poems forthcoming in Hawai’i Review, Sugar House Review, Plainsongs, Free State Review and Texas Review.