It’s the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Sunset tonight is technically 8:51 p.m., but of course it will still be light out closer to 10 (for a total of 14 hours and 24 minutes of sunshine). It’s the kind of day I could imagine myself being out by the ocean for as long as possible—you know, if Atlanta was on the coast. Which alas, it is not.
I simultaneously love and hate this day—I love it because it’s high summer and there’s something interesting about the sun being out as I’m (supposed to be) readying myself for sleep. But I also hate it because it means the days will now get progressively shorter, creeping as they do towards the fall and a new school term. (I’ve had this love-hate thing with the day since I was little.)
Anyway, here is a poem I wrote several years ago commemorating the summer solstice. Initially I planned to write something New Agey and mystical—but then I defaulted to funny. This poem has always been one of my favorites, and it always makes me laugh.
Tonight is the shortest of the year,
not enough time to break into Mr. Next Door’s
shed and rearrange his tools,
hide the scotch he keeps on a ledge
beside the coiled snake of orange power cord,
let the air out of the tires of his ’87 Impala,
fray his collection of ropes,
steal the front wheel of his Schwinn
and replace it with a stale doughnut,
spill turpentine into his jug of marbles,
stuff his sleeping bag with twigs and old leaves,
or tangle his fishing wire into knots
not even the navy knows about.
Tomorrow, the night is two minutes longer.
If you like this poem, you might like the others in my collection, La Petite Mort.