Sixty Days of Summer – by Therese Halscheid

farm-sitting in Pipersville, PA

Quietly, away from the harsh light of summer,
they attach to reeds by the pond
where the stone springhouse stands,
or they rest long and close to the ground clinging
to blades of grass, for hours they remain
in a dream-like trance especially where I am
pointing now to that uncombed meadow of burdock
and fuzzy leaves of the low growing nettles
you can see them resting contentedly you can find them
in other cool places, underneath trees
whose outstretched shadows are freely giving shade.

When you find them you will see them oblivious
to the way we mindlessly walk with quick active strides
or plow through fields failing to acknowledge their existence
failing to understand that in only sixty days
they will live as full a life as it takes our human species
at least sixty years to do.

Watch now as darkness drops in deepening layers
for that is when they fly out from the grasses
off reeds and stalks, away from the nettles
they have spent their days upon, catch how
they blink and soar and dart and mate
until the great fields twinkle and the earth is returned
to a magical state, one that renders us speechless
simply by way of their being who they are
doing what they do, each of them, nightly,
for two months only, and quietly and
so very very well.

Therese Halscheid’s poetry and essays have been published in numerous magazines, among them Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, Sou’wester. Her poetry collections include Frozen Latitudes, Uncommon Geography, Without Home, Powertalk and a Greatest Hits chapbook award. She holds an MA and MFA and teaches in varied settings including an Eskimo village in Alaska, and the Ural Mountains of Russia. For more than two decades she has lived simply to write, by way of house-sitting. She especially likes house-sits in rural areas. Her photography chronicles her journey and has been in several juried exhibitions. See more: