Cool of a Summer Evening

Nights like this one repeat themselves;

maybe it’s a Midwest thing, I don’t know.
When it’s been humid and stifling for days on end,
it’s sometimes interrupted by the cool of a summer evening.

They remind me of nights before falling asleep,
ten or twelve or fourteen years old,
brothers and sisters out with friends or already asleep,
the house completely quiet and my bedroom clean, and
the smell of fresh-cut grass sneaks in on a cool breeze through my bedroom window.

The way town smelled on those long walks home
after spending the evening honing our skills with theft, alcohol, and drugs,
so we’d be well-prepared for the rapidly approaching first day of high-school.
Those first nights at the Academy,
my roommate out trying to make new friends, and
the feel of the air that carried cigarette smoke
out through the window of my brand-new dorm-room.

Then at the University,
when I had no roommate in my fourth-floor room
I lay in my lofted bed and listened to cars pass on the busy street below.

When that cool summer breeze hits me, everything seems so manageable,
like everything really is just as it should be.
Melancholy pulls those long-gone moments together,
all on a thread, made of the cool of a summer evening.

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