These be the Sliding Days

by Drew Perry

Deprivation is for me what daffodils were for Wordsworth.
                                                                                  —Philip Larkin

Well, hell, Mr. Larkin, it’s high August
and we haven’t seen rain, real rain, in weeks.
A cold front barreled down from Canada

and knocked the temps down from ninety degrees
to livable, but no rain with it and
the oaks are dying and no one seems to be

ready, really, to do that much at all
about it— not that we could, anyway.
Now. I am not the less deceived here,

or I don’t mean to be: I know exactly
what Southern August means, and it’s this,
these bleak shining cloudless days with ever-

lessening meteorological chances
of anything happening at all. We bake
towards the promise of autumn. I’ve come

through the gates largely un-fucked up,
but with my share enough, I guess, to find
myself wishing hard for what must have been

your weather, the graying weeks of October
muting the colors that must be setting now
in all this August sameness, the chilled weeks

of November that signal yearly deaths.
It’s hard to be anything in this weather
but still and sour, the crops going to dust

and everything going down the long slide
to happiness, endlessly. I know I
should learn from the season, but instead I

hone my frown from here in my small house,
waiting through these sliding days for the sad
bleak beautiful weather of hats and coats.

Drew Perry’s fiction and poetry has been published in a number of magazines and journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Black Warrior Review, New Orleans Review, Nebraska Review, DIAGRAM and others; a story appears in New Stories from the South 2004. He lives with his dog in Greensboro, North Carolina, and teaches in the undergraduate creative writing program at Elon University.