Monday, 17 August 2020

July Is Mean and Limp

by Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin

July is mean and limp
like the clothes she hangs
in the bathroom to dry,
sopping for three days
as wind inhales
outside the high window.
In her dreams
November gusts burst through wind chimes
tinkling in moonlight,
but mornings the air wraps
a warm wet tongue down her neck
and round her thighs.
Her walls sweat
like slabs of lard
and let out the bellicose breath
of fusty old age
when she opens the door.
July is mean and limp
and sour
and lives in the red shorts
on her vein-throttled legs,
the skin of her soft white arms,
the pink beneath
her hay-and-silver hair.
What to do?
What to do in this pitiless time
with one virago behind
and one still to come?
What but fan
and rock and sit spread-legged
so the bulges have room,
and caress
the small black radio
close to her ear
and hang more clothes
in the bathroom to dry
and listen for wind chimes at
the height of the sun
as she heard them last night
in her dream?

* * * * *

"July Is Mean and Limp" was originally published in Rose & Thorn Journal (November 2012).

Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin’s poems have appeared in Third Wednesday, Grasslimb Journal, Poppy Road Review, Connecticut River Review, Poetry Quarterly, and other places. Carrie is author of the novel Snare (The Waiting Dark) and has stories in journals like Bards and Sages Quarterly, Supernatural Tales, and Luna Station Quarterly.


  1. A visceral barrage of surprising images.

  2. So visceral! Global warming in full poetic effect! Thank you!