The Last Day of Summer

The Last Day of Summer smelled like Fall
Rain had slipped in overnight, soaking the half-scraped wall
But I still tacked the tarpaulins over the coldframe and
climbed that clammy scaffolding to stand and scrape and sand.

It was Easter when we'd moved the poles and bracing down the wall
and all through May I watched each day usher in the fall.
For I was working some other walls while this one stood half-scraped
Though I hoped I could get back to here before this summer escaped

Into June each afternoon found me blocks away
engaged in chores meant to adore my Father's final days.
I'd decided to try to say goodbye by hovering close to him
Reviving that weed-choked lawn of his and catering to his whims:

Watermelon was the only meal that sorta seemed like food
So I delivered more than he would ever eat, uncued.
For I was chipping away at paint, laid down long before
When he was still all-powerful and I could still ignore
The walls that came between us and the paint we'd slathered on
When time was still so young and fresh it never would be gone.

But this summer our old hourglass began to spit,
hinting that remaining sand would surely, shortly stick.
Inexorably inflexible, our time together came
with me the much more powerful player in the game.
And all this time I worked behind the scaffolding standing there
More than aware I'd not prepared for primer or despair.

July saundered in with almost nothing changed
and slipped right through the lines we drew, leaving none the same.
And then we tried to satisfy his ever expanding needs
while layers of sticky surface scab resisted every plead
The well went dry on August first and and the yard went back to weed
while we began to count the days, unwilling to concede.

Through August I never spent a thought on my untouched wall,
I spent my time climbing his and mine, hoping to ease his fall.
And in the end that dear old friend was pretty thoroughly scraped
and ready for whatever paint might tempt the taste of fate.

And I, exhausted from the time, emotionally drained
decided it was well-past time for me to finally paint.
And so, a few days following his final, labored gasp
It being Indian Summer, and my obligations past,
I placed the soggy planking on the rusting steel shell
And set about to scraping down to bare wood on MY wall.

Ten days later, with September slowing down
the first marine intrusion turned the temperature around.
Though Thursday felt like ninety, Friday felt much less,
Saturday rained all morning, but the afternoon digressed.
And here I stand on the morning of the last day before fall
Still in preparation to prepare my weathered wall.

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