Before the moths have even appeared

to orbit around them, the streetlamps come on,

a long row of them glowing uselessly


along the ring of garden that circles the city center,

where your steps count down the dulling of daylight.

At your feet, a bee crawls in small circles like a toy unwinding.


Summer specializes in time, slows it down almost to dream.

And the noisy day goes so quiet you can hear

the bedraggled man who visits each trash receptacle


mutter in disbelief: Everything in the world is being thrown away!

Summer lingers, but it’s about ending. It’s about how things

redden and ripen and burst and come down. It’s when


city workers cut down trees, demolishing

one limb at a time, spilling the crumbs

of twigs and leaves all over the tablecloth of street.


Sunglasses! the man softly exclaims

while beside him blooms a large gray rose of pigeons

huddled around a dropped piece of bread.

  • Jennifer Grotz, “Late Summer” from The Needle. Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Grotz. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

  • Source: The Needle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011)

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