Purvi Shah

Passing summer, Sama passing

Prospect Park Picnic, Summer 2001
For weeks now we have been hoping for heat, pleading
the rains to cease. Summer is slow
to arrive this year — we enter June caught
within crisp wind and longing. Not that summer
is like holding out for a greencard or love, but we have grown
to expect summer, to look forward to leisure
hours to bake our skins, feel the sting of rays
on our lips, to laugh with friends, a heat
from the inside out. How is it that summer
comes back year after year, offering days of longer
light, the steady bloom of green, when we ourselves feel
so spent? Yet this — this is summer
and in our slight hands, mark what have we brought
here to this great lawn — bread
and wine, song and frisbees, hearts and memories.
Have we carried too our worries and angers, our depressions
and aches, the silent buzz through brains, storms
without respite? Where is that magic job I want? That magic love?
How do I teach my heart to forgive? Are these questions driven by wanting
heat, the intoxicating heart of summer?
When we who are young, but quickly moving through summers,
tell our kids about this day, will we say that one day in a Brooklyn park we gathered
to watch cartwheeling children, running dogs, a kite lifting
in the air? Or will we forget this day as we have forgotten
so many others on the path to this June’s summer?
Forgive me — the new millennium summons questions, demands
poets think beyond the moment to the scrolls of time. Maybe this is the mystery
of summer itself, the word that keeps locked within itself seasons and years. Is sama
hum kyan sochenge? Sama
, summer, a summary
of time’s markers. But in this moment in this summer,
we have before us: cartwheeling children, running dogs, a kite lifting
in the air, brown bodies pitching dialects against a flowered
tree and growing blades of summer’s grass.

Purvi Shah
“Passing summer, Sama passing” is from Terrain Tracks (New Rivers Press, 2006).