This “last Friday” of summer has a feel of Fall about it: we’ll head to the first high school football game tonight with sweatshirts to guard against evening chill. As I’m watching the kids on our street squeeze out the last dregs of summer, I’m reminded of how I approached Labor Day weekend as a child–which then reminded me of a poem I wrote several years ago. It’s probably not worth the light of day, but it might capture how some of us feel about the twilight of summer:
its doomsday connotation?
Labor Day comes like a thief in the night,
with the sound of a dreaded trump
catching crayfish and walnut fights—
as if the first day of school
was a recurring Armageddon.
Labor Day is the Day of Judgment,
the parousia that quashes
when teasing bikinis and spaghetti straps
become draped in the wool of
Catholic school uniforms whose
scratchy discomfort enacts
For the young man at twenty-seven
Labor Day is lost in the blur
barely a blip in the whir of ambition
and the tribulation of his toil.
in the cemetery of his play—
in the gloaming of summer,
the smell of that adolescent dread
briefly hangs on the unkempt lawn
a tenuous revenant lurking
between tricycle and sandbox.
Its haunting no longer spooks
his responsible adult disenchanted soul.
Tuesday will be no Second Coming.
Apocalyptic is kids’ stuff.
We’re too busy slouching toward success.