Liam Golden + Keith Derrick

Three Brothers of Summer

They are the three brothers of summer.  They excite, rejuvenate, and absorb to nothingness; June, July, and August.  Leaping over the crest of the valley, one after the other, naked and bound for the world, careless and free.

“Stay for me!” you holler as they are mid-leap.  No brother fails to make an impression.  The sight of their leaps off the hillside always brings poorly buried memories to mind.  An image, a smell, a sound from the leaps you’ve seen in the past.  Such as the taste of honeysuckle dew dripping slowly down a stamen onto an anxiously awaiting tongue.  Or perhaps the juice of the freshly plucked peach running down your chin as you devour its soft flesh.  But nothing will ever prepare you for making a new memory quite like anticipating a new leap.

From below, they must seem like small, pink birds, plummeting in a graceful arc away from a predator.  From here, the poppies are spread across the valley’s barren fields, like blood from a once virgin’s lips.  Pouring into the ever-flowing river.  Always pouring.  Always flowing.

The eldest goes first, of course.  You remember his promises from years past.  He softly enters, with the unspoken pledge to hold out forever.  You try to hold out.  Try to remember that he can never keep that pledge.  But each time he presses on, persists.  You could only resist forgetting for so long.  Give in.  Forget.

July.  Now that time has stood still for you, the thought of this moment ending is laughable.  You let the passion erupt from your breast.  Your time together is full.  Brimful with heavy breaths.  Filled to spilling-over with the gentle caress of the soft and sensitive flesh under your forearm.  His touch conducts heat and electricity.  You spend most of the time with your eyes closed, absorbing the experience, never able to understand that you won’t see him again.  You remember his image least, but his memories are always sharpest in your mind.

August enters you with no resistance.  The heat streams from you.  Then a sudden cold.  Finally, aware now that his touch has abandoned your body, you open your eyes only to see his feet as they leave the Earth without a goodbye.  “Stay for me!” you scream into the chill night air. But you know they can’t hear you anymore.  You belong to the cold now, and they belong to the other side of the world.

Coarse

Most people don’t seem to realize the immense complexity of my job.  All they want to do is take me for granted when in reality I am the closest thing to a miracle that most people are going to see in their lives.  And the absolute best part, I am around you everyday.  I rise up and give another barbaric yawp in your direction.

Rocky leans over. “Stop shouting already Dusty.  They never listen, and I’m just too damn tired of hearing it.”

“Rocky, you’re just too stubborn; all you do is sit there and not care about what’s going on around you.”

He doesn’t respond.  He sits there, unmoved.  That’s all anyone around here ever does.  Everyone except me, that’s why I’m chastised so much.  I’m separated from every classification.  The hot heads, the rough necks, and even the self-titled most refined of us, Sandy, will not budge to my defense, even though, of all of us, she is most like me.  But I suppose there’s that line.  Everyone has it.  See, Sandy will mingle with the occasional rough neck, but she would never be seen in the company of a mudder or a hot head.  Beneath her I guess.  They are just too… coarse.

Sandy mumbles, “No one cares Dusty.  Just leave us alone.”

I suppose that is why they don’t really associate themselves with me.  My degree of coarseness.  I am beyond fine.  I am quite particular.  Millions of years of pressure and grinding have elevated me above my station.  I used to be like Rocky.  I used to be like the hot heads.  I even used to be like the mudders.  See what I mean when I say ‘miracle’.  And it is this quality that allows me freedom and also confinement.  I am free to sail around on the breeze; but I’m also separated from my own kind.

We’re family.  We’re all quite similar, but worlds apart.  And when the heel of your rubber boot is hovering over us – Rocky, Sandy, the mudders, pebbles, and yes even me – I guess we’re all the same to you.

“We’re all just dirt.”