Ben Kline

August Serenade

Tangerine moon rises late like an only child
whose parents revolve their own affairs,

late over those malachite hundred twenty yards
flooded by lights too bright to be celestial, 

an interrupted dusk under which I conceive
cobalt sentiments about chestnut manes 

of wilting cornsilk, late nods at halftime
that catalyze instructions for assignments 

performed behind the women’s restrooms,
Heather squeezing out the stall window  

after halftime pyramid leaps, sweat still
salty on her lips and between her thighs, 

pom-poms dropped next to my knees
on the flat grass, as was planned last week  

in chemistry, giggling through another
experiment in biomechanical reactions, 

and she shudders like a stiff aurous stalk
in the combine’s maw, stripped and  

conveyed to the wire crib to dry as the sun
retreats into shorter days of less anxious 

languor, days that shrivel like tomatoes
or lonely widows too long on the post, 

subjected to bugs or rejected by lovers
far ago who have forgotten their names. 

After the game, at home drafting couplets,
rhymes paused for illicit pours of PBR 

to numb bites that might build character
were I quiet enough to be so Pentecostal, 

I hear the fields sway in the glow, sharp
blades swooshing like a corps of snare drums

brushed for a twisted beat, memories sleep
might rewrite into eventual nostalgia for 

sticky evenings and proven hypotheses,
bats rewriting axioms around the barn, 

eating bloated mosquitos while I note
other symmetries made possible by rhyme.

Ben Kline lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, working at the library and drinking more coffee than seems wise. His work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in The Offing, Bending Genres Journal, Typehouse Magazine, Beech Street Review, The Matador Review, Impossible Archetype, Love's Executive Order, and many more. You can read more at