That year, in Hardy country, the rot bloomed:
The wild blackberries hanged themselves in the hedgerows,
dead, aching, over-ripe.
All the seams of summer had burst,
the whole county was sick with it,
a diaphanous, bristling heat,
that nestled and struck.
It struck us,
the sun-seared, sun-sloshed, sun-sly,
Skin peeled, snake children
Riotous, dedicated to the revelry of our becoming.
Those strange, slothful, dog-days
were an end to the nosebleed years,
an unspoken crossing-over:
I remember those men,
who looked at us like cats in a drought.
I was prepared to feel alone, expected the government-mandated 2-metre gap to yawn between us, cold and hostile. I expected these new spaces to be