If Summer Sear the Landscape by Helen Stevens Chinitz

If Summer Sear the Landscape

His hands tremble as I smooth the sheet
by his cheek, meds providing clarity—memory
piecemeal, he says, no place to put my feet.

Daily, I turn my young son’s mind, north to south,
east to west. I wash and iron his sheets,
pillowcases for his dreams, fill moats with golden carp
he cannot reach. The hook’s barb slipping
the catch beyond his skill, his will
still whole but heading for the flume.

A future can dwell under a mid-stream boulder,
he thinks, or in the pith of every tree. We
are in the third decade of pain, a sear rage risen.

I know when I see him that anger, anger above all
harrowed, is the other side of sorrow.


~ Helen Stevens Chinitz ~

After teaching around the country for several years, Steevie (as she is known) moved deep into the Western Catskills to a house she had built with her students. She has published a few things in Denver Quarterly, Southern Poetry Review, Stone Canoe, The Westchester Review, and others; and a chapbook Sluice (2013). She escaped briefly, she says, for an MFA (2017).