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Late Summer

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Before the moths have even appeared
to orbit around them, the streetlamps come on,
a long row of them glowing uselessly
along the ring of garden that circles the city center,
where your steps count down the dulling of daylight.
At your feet, a bee crawls in small circles like a toy unwinding.
Summer specializes in time, slows it down almost to dream.
And the noisy day goes so quiet you can hear
the bedraggled man who visits each trash receptacle
mutter in disbelief: Everything in the world is being thrown away!
Summer lingers, but it’s about ending. It’s about how things
redden and ripen and burst and come down. It’s when
city workers cut down trees, demolishing
one limb at a time, spilling the crumbs
of twigs and leaves all over the tablecloth of street.
Sunglasses! the man softly exclaims
while beside him blooms a large gray rose of pigeons
huddled around a dropped piece of bread.

Jennifer Grotz, “Late Summer” from The Needle. Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Grotz. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Source: The Needle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011)
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Late Summer

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  • Poet and translater Jennifer Grotz earned a BA at Tulane University, an MA and MFA from Indiana University, and a PhD at the University of Houston. She is the author of The Needle (2011) and Cusp (2003).

    In The Needle, Grotz explores both Polish and American twentieth-century poetry and its traditions. According to a Washington Post review, “Where many writers look inward and mine their private landscapes, Grotz sees the objects and scenes around her. . . . Grotz’s perspective makes her work feel objective and insightful, even when she writes about family tragedies. Her ability to balance artistry and emotion results in buoyant poetry.” Grotz’s previous collection, Cusp, is informed by the phrase “entre chien et loup,” meaning “between dog and wolf,” a French colloquialism for twilight. While the poems in Cusp portray a divided world, the poetic project of the book is to locate a cusp, a “now” moment between past...

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