REMEMBRANCES OF SUMMER
We’ll remember this as the summer of swiftest change: how we walked, mornings and evenings, past fences overgrown with wisteria— their opulent scent already balanced on the rim of decay.---From “What We’ll Remember” by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa, 07-14-12
Summers at the City of Pines, Baguio of my youth,
saw us picking up tennis balls at Camp John Hay,
for the most filthy-mouthed players in memory.
At my granddaughter’s tennis clinic today, I cracked
a racket on a young man’s shin for yelling the effing
word every time he failed to return an effing ball.
Why do we remember anger longer than any earth-
shaking event? The god particle discovery by savants
lasted a only a week. Who cares about the goddamn
particle? The slaughter of children, women, the old
who could not outrace bullets in Syria, Kabul, Libya,
Kenya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Ampatuan, Nigeria—
they are yesterday’s news rehashed every lazy day
thereafter until the copy desk won’t consider these
news enough to pepper papers preferring Tom Cruise
and Katie Holmes’ quickie divorce. Who needs to hear
more murder stories, of mothers and fathers killing
their own babies to hurt each other? Summer news.
Am I any bigger than all these when I did not bother
to attend my mother’s burial, or catch her last call
for me, his firstborn, before she gasped her final breath?
I will remember this summer as the cruelest, heartless
time: I became my most dreaded shadow-self. I could
no longer feel even the pain of my mother’s death.
This summer, I might as well be dead, as dead perhaps
as I can remember any dying when what remains here
is a mocking wraith of a man who is no longer human.
—Albert B. Casuga