The summoning
Katherine Holmes

Wouldn’t have come out this malted
fall night except for an invitation

to Duluth’s redone
drawing room of a view
blue and lavender
on the long vertiginous
hall of a boardwalk. A lake seance

where the sky shades seem designed
to summon up an adolescent self

that shrugged from the overrun
to the new neighbor’s
stratum of paint and wallpaper.
A blue and lavender living room.
The moved-in-mother, by day, a forerunner

of informality. Upstairs there
I had seen a begirdled bride dress.

Four boys can be awful,
she was saying. You can whack
them if you want. About to
boysit in the Disney-dreamy
living room. Boysenberry pillows. She

couldn’t be strapped in elastic.
It wasn’t her night to tackle.

I couldn’t whack them though.
Pretended not to see
the smuggled marshmallows.
Refrained from overseeing
the eldest at his toothbrush, squeamish

and shirtless inside the bathroom door.
Attempted being a semaphore

in the halls that led
to admiring the skirmish

of a woman’s wishes into
lavender and blue. Sacked
on the sofa, all-get-out probably

going on overhead. Up by the
converted yellowbrick gas station we

await the meandering
of four teenagers. Their
sailboat-slow ice cream floats
seep in front of us.
And back to look into the deeps of a

young girl’s reluctance, holding
a cone cold as boycotting before

clouds of incongruous
solace. Unreal as
relieved spirits
that she wouldn’t
summon to be whacked
into her unreal coldish world.

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