Unhand Summer

Story me humid
air that swims. You know.
The mulberry returns
verdant, determined.
A certain tightness in the lungs
reminds me: treasure
the breath. Years of lilac
wishing. Count slowly.
Minutes weigh more than days.

Maybe the window called
for a mulberry screen.
Long for a lazy noontide
our room’s air paged and lettered.
I catch all the leaking faucet discards,
carry water to each seedling.

Waiting no longer defines me.
I remember stars, unseen comfort.
For days I rush to gather sunlight,
arms wide, greedy, fearing winter.

Summer me a study of excess
learn to hold these moments
and flavors through each season.

Today brings me to the same
story. Even a toddler’s book
is full of longing. Shadow-less
animals, pages basic, foliate.
Spill sorrow.
Each night we catch fireflies
then free them. Unhold.

The hand that lifts slowly
catches the most light.


Lara Payne lives in Maryland. Once an archeologist, she earned her MFA from New York University. She has been a resident of the VCCA and a semi-finalist for the Nation/Discovery Award. Most recently, her poetry has appeared in the online journal lines+stars and Mom Egg Review.