Summer Love’s a Curse!

January 17, 2024

Photo by Aaron Castellanos 

Simple. Sweaty. To the point. Nothing more.

This summer was the first summer in many, many summers
where I was free of a

Summer someone.
Summer whomever.
Somewhere in me
        crammed between my guts and lungs
was an obligation
(for the sake of my self-regard)
to sit with myself alone.

Photo by Aaron Castellanos

Solitude bores me to death.
Summer flings are meant to be whimsical,
never sacred.

are simple.
are sweaty.
are to the point.
are nothing more.

Summer someones are in the form of —
        art museums, blue waves, country roads
        laundry rooms, La La Land, baseball games
        stars drawn in sharpie, brunch, acoustic guitars, sake,
                        redwood trees, letters by the ocean, overalls, card games,
                        badminton, tragedies, bleached bathing suits, earrings, and voice memos.

Summer whoevers write letters to me and write songs about me.
If they were a color, it would be the shade of red that beams from a hometown red light
        (with a slight astigmatism).

Summer crushes are cursed the moment I want them
in the fall, winter, or spring.
Heaven help me if it’s ever all three.

They smoke and sizzle and burn to ash by autumn.
When the leaves turn brown, I let go of the grip.
When the leaves get crunchy,
        I clasp my hands and I pray:
                                Dear Heavenly Father,
                                I show my gratitude that nothing is forever
                                and none of them stay.

Winter is tense — too serious.
Winter is for cuddling and holding on too tight.
                    Winter is for begging for sun.
Because then summer someones are no longer simple,
        they are no longer sweaty,
                    they are so much more than nothing more.

They are a summer sting turned winter sting.

        A consumption of my spirit.
They burn by autumn
        and freeze by winter,
and I’m left grasping
at ash —
                    trying to sew them back together,
                                    memorized only by fantasy and idealization.
                                                                    Dear Heavenly Father,
                                                                    maybe I repent.

(It’s autumn now so I pretend like we didn’t exist) (Do I pretend like we didn’t exist?)

(To exist is to —

                                            AM         I                 ASH         NOW?


This summer was the first summer
in many, many summers
where I was

Summer solitude is in the form of —
        learning how to use a grill,
        a music festival in Salt Lake City,
        Indian food, stargazing, blocking people on Instagram,
        crying at my elementary school yearbook photo,
        hot dogs, fomo, a $10 green tank top from target, hair cuts,               manicures,
        watching Asteroid City alone
                in my hometown mall at 2 p.m.,
        unfollowing them on Spotify.

Summer seclusion is when the sun is heavy
and sweat spills over my body.

There is little time for grieving –
I’m more consumed with
pulling at my face
stretching one side left and the other right.
Who are you? Who is this?
Pupils wide,
teeth could be whiter.

                                            I         AM                 ASH         NOW. ■

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