Ode to Summer

A time marked by
freedom from the shackles of schoolwork
and though I am landlocked,
I fervently taste the salty sea
on my sun-kissed lips.

Summer means sleep.
Rest for the weary traveler
searching for the narrow path
whilst leading a rather crooked life-
an explorer deprived of dreams,
a believer well-instructed in the
art of disbelieving.

I peer over the face of a
steep cliff, about to make a perilous leap
into a murky abyss flooded with
elaborate hopes for a future,
carefully assembled by a society
in which the word future is synonymous
with the term bold-faced lie.

“Still, it is summer,” the parched grass whispers to me,
and blood-thirsty mosquitoes buzz in agreement as I sit,
picking at scabs I should not have.

The scent of burnt barbecue sticks to the humid air.
Regret piles onto my soul like stacks of summer work,
the overdue yet under-read library books
scattered about my room.

I taste sand in my mouth
much like I did in simpler times
when melted ice cream was a high priority concern
rather than a sticky afterthought.

Times when I relished the backyard discovery
of rocks with fossil sea shells,
my favorite hardened reminders of ancient summers.

Smoky July air
laced with explosions of color,
and exciting books filled with characters
who had intentions far darker
than the shades of my sunglasses.

Now, the magic has grown into something more mechanical
relaxation has become rehearsed
youth, transformed into an ephemeral dream
a dream stuck within thick walls of stone
cemented together, like our hearts
and troubled, like the salty waters of oceans
I never get to see.

“Still, it is summer,” the fireflies calmly sing
as bonfires cackle and inhibitions melt away.
I glance at the stars above and my heart cracks
because the universe may be infinite,
but life is not.

Complaints offers little solution,
nostalgia provides no peace
and contentment implies sacrifice
so I must cast away these
islands of faded memories
and anchor myself to the wonders that lay ahead.