THE INDIAN SUMMER

MATTHEW MITCHELL

 
 

Before there was toxic algae in lake erie / the seats at the stadium became coated in rust / and the ghosts of the
tribe’s golden days / wandered through the low tides / and sun gleamed / off the gorgeous blue glass of the
water / and my papaw held me close / under the lights chained across our chests / our bodies illuminated in the
open air / at the dawn of the new millennium / I dropped my coke by his feet / the brown nectar coating the
stone steps below us / but I looked back at him / and his eyes glowed like jewels / and he smiled beneath fifty
years of varnish / because there were no cracks in the midwest sky / where I wasn’t a god in his eyes / he died in
his bed over a decade later / but his soul was left in that stadium chair (see: mezzanine section 103, seat thirteen)
/ and he didn’t get a proper funeral / just a batch of fireworks / a constellation of beastly eyes welling up / like a
fracture in the belly of a lighthouse / and my broken-hearted eulogy to him was northeast ohio swirling around
my mouth / and slithering out in the shape of an anagram for a thick stain on a luminous morning / where the
pink cleveland sky quit running / and when the stardust fell / we’d taken the cubs to game seven / and the holy
ghost gave me a cardinal / state bird of every home I find myself missing someone in / in the oak tree behind my
house / and it got caught in my throat / a reliquary turning the color of every prayer I spent that summer /
where my body became a beach body / after the sweet moonlight eroded the salt from my bones / and I liked
the smell of the old stadium / stuck to my dad’s chief wahoo sweater / because it was coated with my papaw’s
breath / and O, how he shined.

 
 

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