Summer of Anger
by Neysa King
Muted sweetness stings the roof of my mouth
where I burned it earlier at dinner because I was too
impatient to wait until it was cool enough to eat.
They say to stay away from melon something
digestive, but the juice of August has covered
my mouth like sweaty cotton sheets. Square incisors
munch on a stray almond-shaped seed before I
swallow the fullness of summer’s last, rounded days.
This is the summer of anger. August is a wasp, sharp
and agitated and looking for someone to offend it so it can
sink its poison-tipped stinger into soft flesh while the cicadas
play Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth” on repeat. The sun and
the dirt and the concrete and the bugs and the people get redder
and drier and angrier and cover themselves in spikes like a giant
agave in glorious, 20-foot bloom before withering into a soft
brown, receiving pile telling stories of going to State.
This is the summer of anger and it prickly pears around
the back of my neck and sits over my head like a football
helmet and the only relief is immersion in cool, dark water
where my legs kick unseen and the dull, tangy sweetness
lingers on the back of my tongue with the rest of the
beautiful things I remember from another season.
They wait for the right moment to reseed, to scatter into
the brittle, beaten grass and resurrect as wild, neon blooms.
Neysa King has been published in Chaleur Magazine, Slippery Elm Literary Journal, The Huffington Post, and others. She lives and writes in Austin, Texas.