We were expecting thick air, but there’s just
soft warmth, a summer morning come softly.

I hear something in the trees, she says, chalk
clenched in her hand. Just the cicadas, come

back another year, with their incessant purr.
The texture of summer sticky: bubbles, sweat,

something that holds on too long, and I’m searching
for the southern winds of fall. I’m not sure what

I expected of life, but it wasn’t this weight. I didn’t
know life would be so heavy. I’m weeping, voice

muffled through the phone, life squeezing my
ribcage, a sworl in my stomach, tendons unraveling.

I move slow, worried I’ll crumble if I’m not careful.
Tragedy comes swift and sudden sometimes. I’m

unsure how to go on, but I do, and this dawn on the
porch, the cicadas here again, I hold your tiny hand

and wade through the thick summer air as if we’re
pressing apart sand. We open the gate and enter our

forest. Sunlight flashes through the canopy, there’s
Virginia Creeper climbing your playhouse. We walk

down our path, air melting across our skin, enormous
white clouds puffed across the blue sky, weightless.