The later you stay outside at night, the longer the night will be.
If all the nights are longer, the summer will be too. Crickets
beat a pulse and replace the clock, a pulse that stays in one place
like the one in your wrist and can’t go anywhere, not nine o’clock
to ten o’clock or Saturday to a school night. They beat a pulse
you have to listen to the whole time and if a half-primed old Chevelle
goes by the whole thing is ruined, and you feel like giving up and going
inside. So when time stops there are no people and no Chevelles.
There are dogs. The dogs keep a monotonous barking beat.
No howling. The air must be the same degree and humidity
as your skin so you don’t feel anything. You disappear. Cool breezes
make your goosebumps come out and then you exist,
like when an invisible spills paint. If you want time to stop
you have to stay so still the swing doesn’t move
even when your legs are up. If you want time to stop
you have to close your eyes real tight until they’re wrinkled hard.
Now cricket pulse and invisible weather, now porch and swing not moving,
now dogs and cars not howling, now making now forever.
Tina Hammerton grew up in Alliance, Ohio and earned a BA in Psychology in 1997. After being a social worker in the valley for 8 years, Tina earned her MFA from ASU in 2007. She currently holds writing workshops for at-risk youth in Phoenix, Arizona.