July Walks

by Stephanie Burt

It is July
And the plants can hear my thoughts

On morning walks, the wisteria twirls tendrils over the sidewalk
Just over the top of my head
The curling green vines reaching toward my shoulder as it grows in plain sight

The live oak provides shade when my face reddens in the heat
And the spanish moss sways and tickles in the breeze under its branches
Almost caressing but not quite

But not quite
They know what no one else knows save myself
That I have been walking home to inhabit the space of my being
And I have arrived
Albeit at the most inopportune time

For there is no one to tell
Save the crepe myrtle
Whose magenta blossoms strew my path
Headed for the altar of a new life
The trunks and branches suggesting the inside of your wrist

I cannot see your face
Or read your name, well, not exactly
Though I can just make out you swimming toward the bottom of my glass-bottomed boat
Or maybe that’s just the humidity, up from yesterday’s afternoon rain

You are part of the new bougainvillea blooming beyond the fence
The cicadas announcing it’s time to chill the wine and put dinner in the oven
The sun illuminating the underside of leaves into burnt orange

You are here in the is
And I am here, too, at last

Stephanie Burt is the host of The Southern Fork podcast and a writer based in Charleston, SC. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Saveur, Washington Post, CNN’s Parts Unknown, Conde Nast Traveler (and “back in the day” when she taught poetry at Belmont Abbey College) Sanskrit and The Hollins Critic. Her main focus these days is researching heirloom ingredients and interviewing passionate culinary makers, but she is prone to follow inspiration and passion off this path when it calls. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.

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