Is there such a time as summer, long days, late afternoons on fire, the heat sticking to us like need, new lovers, day and night? I say, I remember what summer is. But that feels like an old memory, its colors fading to sepia, the edges blurring, and a memory’s details combobulating into others. And when that happens, there goes your own trust in your faculties to recall specifics, like a password to your only e-mail account, the mystical symbolism of each of your children’s birth times, or your vows at the wedding anniversary: the meaning of once important things. You and I both know that once a memory is called into question then your own history seems, well, lost, and no longer yours.
This is the history of summer: an old book in a specials collection, its leather binding brittle and breaking, and the stories written on each fragile page disintegrating if exposed to untreated air. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen old books opened. I’ve seen the fragments of words lifting off the page on thin wafers of paper the likeness of moths’ wings. That’s when you know the significance of each word: when you can no longer retrieve it to its home story.
Is there such a time as summer? If so, the recollection of it on these frigid winter days is fragile. My memory grows old. And the old books are blasted open and the blizzards are spreading the words across the plains.