Awaiting August

Photo by Greta Unetich

By Greta Unetich

Awaiting August, it’s like I’ve woken from a hundred-year-long springtime sickness. Late winter has never been easy for me— days worth of steel skies, cold winds sweeping flat fields of cracked, brittle cornstalks, brass puddles in the field behind my yard, last summer’s crushed, damp weeds stuck to the ground in muddy puddles. Once, I went to sleep in December, thinking I would wake weak the next day to winter outside your window. When I opened my eyes, it was May. Standing in your kitchen and sleeping in your bed passed it fast. You open your window, and after a few hours, it starts to smell thick and green and wet, the foliage in front of my eyes awaiting August alongside me. I must have fallen back asleep after the birds stopped singing at dawn. I did not know where you’d gone, but I knew you’d be back in August. The river rocks await to be under water, under our feet while we stand small in the long, thin, open vein of night sky carved out by running water. 

August now, I wake and turn my head 90 degrees to wholly face you. Silence in one ear, crickets and cicadas chirping in the other. We lay close in the tall grass every night and rub our faces together. August drags and runs at the same time, fleeting like dusk into the night. 

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