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Summer Solstice

Poetry, Nia Mahmud

The sun sets at midnight, great blue heron

streaks across the sky

in a blaze of star-spangled glory (he always

appears too early, a call for victory before it’s

actually here.) Water moves through the frozen creek,

the elderly couple dances

like the ship is going down with them,

someone else’s saliva is used as mouthwash

for all the day’s atrocities, and even for the old

couple, the novelty of knuckles brushing

never really leaves. Houses tumble into new

state lines or else onto melting glaciers.

Like all other impossibilities,

the night continues on. It’s only special

in the rearview mirror. The fear of sharpened teeth

lasts as long as the kiss. Dirty dishes sit in the sink

overnight because nothing about this life

is clean or free to do as it wishes. Summer only lasts

for as long as it takes to sing along to the owl’s song

who who who

would stay up for the rooster’s call when sleeping in

is easier?


Nia Mahmud is a poet, storyteller, and essayist. She is the author of the poetry collection “a complete work in progress”, which is about growth and growing up in all its nonlinear forms. In her free time, Nia can be found listening to Taylor Swift on repeat, rewriting the same essay a million times, or oversharing on the internet. Find her on Instagram at @nia.m.writer


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