Last Evening in June
I hear the reports of fireworks—
or thunder—too early
for the fourth. Storm clouds unfurl
slowly in the smoke of their own
incineration, burning flags
draped over the coffin of the sky’s
west wing, obfuscating the truth.
Which I might as well tell you
is that I live for these moments of absolute
solitude, dogs already caged
inside the house, darkness gathering
in the arms of the rosebush,
arms already empty. Blossoms so soon
spilled, cake the elbow of the sidewalk,
dead-end receptacle for lavender
and white, piercingly
the fence line, honeysuckle leaves
lift up the beetles
in prayer which sleep and feast upon them,
little iridescent angels of death,
mandibles grinding like teeth.
A bumblebee slips its long hairy tongue
down the throat of the Rose of Sharon blossom.
Below the branch, rosebuds encrust
the sidewalk. Wind roughens its caresses,
whispering in the dark morning sky.
I no longer feel like the carpenter ant
caught walking across the bathroom mirror
and coaxed into a Mason jar, bottlecap
screwed behind me. Moving back
into my parent’s basement, I wondered
if I’d returned to my place of birth
to die. Now, like the ant that has come
to rest at the bottom of its invisible
world, I’ve acclimated to the sultriness
of my own breath against the glass.
Cameron Morse lives with his wife Lili and son Theodore in Blue Springs, Missouri. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014. With a 14.6 month life expectancy, he entered the Creative Writing program at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and, in 2018, graduated with an M.F.A. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, and South Dakota Review. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His second, Father Me Again, is available from Spartan Press and chapbook Coming Home with Cancer is forthcoming in Blue Lyra Press’s Delphi Poetry Series.