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Summer Night, Tony Hoagland

That one night in the middle of summer
when people move their TV sets outside
and watch them on the porch –
so the neighborhood is full of murmuring blue lights.

Earlier, the evening sky looked like a pale blue shirt
through which a stain of watermelon juice
was delicately spreading.

All day I kept offering my wife
opportunities to fight,
and she kept stepping over them
like cracks in a sidewalk she was used to walking on.

Sometimes when she cries I think how
cigarettes and ice cream are part
of the chemical composition of her tears,

sometimes I think about her mom and dad,
her catastrophic history with men –
And I can feel the roots of my heart

convulse, yanking themselves up, wanting to
walk over there and hold her.

We sit in our wooden chairs,
convinced that we have ruined everything

while through the open window
comes the smell of flowers.

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