Summer's End
Cindy King

Summer's End

Not yet June and the perennials
have surrendered. The rosebush,
unpruned, lowers its green fists.
There’s still time to paint
behind the stove, to disinfect
the chandelier, still time to buff
winter from the soles of our feet.
Time to grind grain—no,
grow it. Pulverize, proof,
punch down, rise. Still time
to climb the roof, to raise a glass
to the black-shingled twin of night.

Night walks on its hands,
comes juggling bowling balls
and chainsaws. Night arrives
hissing in a skillet,
smelling of beer and catfish,
has yet to meet the box fan
since its argument with wind.
Night comes when we least expect it,
before crickets and sunsets, before
clean plates, before wine. The
lonely dining room table, night,
heavy with a thought pressed
into the mind. A basin
flecked with rust, as if
the stars gave out.

Cindy King

is the author of a book-length poetry collection, Zoonotic, forthcoming from Tinderbox Editions, and two chapbooks, Easy Street (Dancing Girl Press, 2021), and Lesser Birds of Paradise (Southeastern Louisiana State University Press, 2022). She has contributed to CallalooNorth American Review, River Styx, American Literary Review, and other journals and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Dixie State University, where she edits The Southern Quill.