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THE SUMMER CLOISTER

in the summer cloister lingers a memory
among cool-shaded vaults and wilted flowers
macramé quilts strung like pelts, pottery
crosshatched with involute designs no longer
fabricated
beads of glass — red, blue, green —
but shades of black by muzzy flame
A breath. The quiet creak of springs. Lopsided
meter of a clock. Locks locked and unlocked.

in the summer cloister linger many thoughts
assembled by no guided order
a mobile composed
of jam in jars, and empty jars in rows
and emptiness
the brittle pleasure of boiling water
in a sterling pot
the riddling mix of unguided steam, until
the pot is altogether empty as the day is empty
or empty as it seems
A breath. The scratch and scrape of a rocking chair.
Swallows dart in metronome. Murmuring of loss.

in the summer cloister linger fretted stays
that graze, and blunt, and deconstruct the fettered
fall of light
compressed in everyday things, exotic as a row of
jars, a sooty pot, a portrait of an engineer
black and white, but where caught light gleams
on the buttons of his coat, the engine, and the steam
idling at his back, yet removed and away
far and farther still than angles of falling light,
or falling stars
or failing hasp of fretted steam
black and white and empty jars
and empty everything
A breath. The rasp of sand and leaves. Languid drip of
water drops. Summer repeating and repeats.

      — Laird Barron