Durling Avenue

Summer in its simplest colors
comes over Durling Avenue.

The sweetest invitations come
understated, the girl in the yard

barely lifts her eyebrows, the boy
shrugs his shoulders as if to say

I’ve been waiting, I can wait.
All we’re asked to do is recognize

the beckoning—the grass
splashed brown that will be cut

by dusk, the woman who’s placed
sun tea on her porch. She wears

the dress her mother wore,
lets it fall about her hips and pauses

because it’s Saturday, nothing
pressing in the news, the radio

turned to Frankie Avalon
and laughter, those days, that

handful of Pontiacs moving slowly,
making no dust. There are streets

in America that defend themselves
against time, streets of blackberry

and elm and clusters of boys
lining up to play stickball. I stop

the car and listen to their rules:
the phone pole’s foul, the hedge

behind the Murray house always
an inside-the-park home run.

If rain comes, the great, mournful
interruptor, we take lunch

to the pavilion at Memorial Park
and wait. Maybe Susie St. Claire

in her dress will bring sun tea;
maybe we can save the freckles

on her shoulders for later,
for bed, when all is cricket-sound,

the Erie train, our fathers holding
our church shoes under lamplight.

I was of and not of them,
inside their clothes and distant,

driving toward Broad Street
where the new light flickered red

(it was 1962, it was today)
at the Lutheran church, where I

married the day summer ended.
All the trees were yellow and I

in my gray suit lingered, laughed,
in time and far beyond it.

Carl Boon

A native of Ohio, Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at 9 Eylül University. His poems appear in dozens of magazines, most recently Burnt Pine, Two Peach, Ink In Thirds, and Poetry Quarterly. He is also a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee.