by Mark Belair Mark Belair

Mark Belair's poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Atlanta Review, Fulcrum, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East, The South Carolina Review, and The Sun. His books include the collection While We're Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013) and two chapbook collections: Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012) and Night Watch (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press). For more information, please visit

summery as the days have been / it's only when you drive up the steep mountain road and feel /
at the same outcropping of granite as every year / cooler air infiltrating the car's closed interior /
and you pull up to the generations-old family lake cabin / and open the car door and step out into
the same earthy dampness you remember from since forever / remember along with the familiar
slap of water against the wooden dock / and smell of gasoline for the dinghy motor wafting from
the dented metal shed / and you find / though it's only late afternoon / that you and your wife and
kids all need sweatshirts so you dig them out of bags / and you turn the rusty lock and

enter the cabin with its standing chill / the furniture dew-slicked and more unsteady and mouse-
nibbled than last year / the same pointless paperbacks more swollen / and after a quick dinner of
cold food you brought you

light a campfire and make hot chocolate to warm everybody up / the darkness deepening until
it seeps into the family circle / so you douse the fire and get everyone settled in bed and crawl
into your own clammy / clinging sheets / all ears

to the nighttime sounds of foraging animals and misguided moths pelting screens / alive to the
aliveness swarming the porous / moldering cabin / it's only then / shivering / that you know /
for this is the marker moment your memory has kept vivid from when you were a kid young as
your own / one of whom / in fact / now calls out because scared / that the murky / mysterious /
chilling / underbelly of summer / is here

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