All We Hear in Summer

All we hear in summer
are old, slightly rusted fans
whirring
running hot and all day
to pump warm air into a wooden box
of heat and oppressive skin

All we hear in summer
is the envy of the drips
of air conditioned stores and buildings and homes
we long to be in
but gotta hoof it on the concrete
to get to where we’re goin’

All we hear in summer
are hoarse child voices
screaming their glory and exuberance
for the whole neighborhood
Wake up
from the haze of the heat
remember what fun was
remember the joy of sunshine
not the overbearing burden of your
responsibilities
beating into your back

All we hear in summer
is the slow wheeze of the dried out
esophagus of our lolo, our bachan
or tiny siblings falling asleep below us
as we lie in sticky, sweaty cotton-rough sheets
thinking about dinosaurs
letting us ride them on playgrounds
chanting, “We’re Back.”

All we hear in summer
are the flies flumming to and fro
the hot carcasses discarded in our path
to wherever we need to go next
away from the tight spaces
ants and spiders and roaches and mosquitos
occupy our minds
there’s never enough room for both of us

All we hear in summer
is the quiet call of the cricket
as we remember all doors and windows open nights
because the ac was too expensive
to buy, let alone run
as we heard the quietness of the darkness
felt the heat of our own bodies
rise above us to cover our family home
our home
our family
our summers
these are the things we forget about
for the sun burns the joy from us

All we hear in summer
are the endless nights
slipping from our minds
remember the fun you were promised
in those ads and stories and movies
about summer love and crazy childhood
adventures
you never went on
but were told you were supposed to
instead of staying inside building a farm life
for 8 hours a day
or fighting your sibling
for the computer
for the internet
for the chance to escape outside the house
cause you weren’t allowed to leave alone

All we hear in summer
are the pool parties you went to
screaming and laughing in your
well off friend’s home
admiring the things she had, owned
like cool tile flooring
you pressed your body onto
wishing you lived here
slept here
instead of the hot wooden structure
your family kept
with no pool and too many neighbors

All we hear in summer
is that desperate time you and your sibling
fell asleep
on the cool tile of the kitchen floor
in front of the only relief,
finally able to afford an ac
as your parents sleep on the couch
in the living room
so you and your sibling could have privacy
as growing children, adolescent children
your parents, 40 years old
sleeping on a couch
like they were in the college they never went to

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