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Summer of Anger

by Neysa King

Muted sweetness stings the roof of my mouth

where I burned it earlier at dinner because I was too

impatient to wait until it was cool enough to eat.

They say to stay away from melon something

digestive, but the juice of August has covered

my mouth like sweaty cotton sheets. Square incisors

munch on a stray almond-shaped seed before I

swallow the fullness of summer’s last, rounded days.


This is the summer of anger. August is a wasp, sharp

and agitated and looking for someone to offend it so it can

sink its poison-tipped stinger into soft flesh while the cicadas

play Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth” on repeat. The sun and

the dirt and the concrete and the bugs and the people get redder

and drier and angrier and cover themselves in spikes like a giant

agave in glorious, 20-foot bloom before withering into a soft

brown, receiving pile telling stories of going to State.


This is the summer of anger and it prickly pears around

the back of my neck and sits over my head like a football

helmet and the only relief is immersion in cool, dark water

where my legs kick unseen and the dull, tangy sweetness

lingers on the back of my tongue with the rest of the

beautiful things I remember from another season.

They wait for the right moment to reseed, to scatter into

the brittle, beaten grass and resurrect as wild, neon blooms.

Neysa King has been published in Chaleur Magazine, Slippery Elm Literary Journal, The Huffington Post, and others. She lives and writes in Austin, Texas.

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September 2019

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