The Hermit at Midsummer

He’s watched his body age. Its taut topography —
Never a greedy eater, always active —
Loosens as its man-shaped coastline, worn
By battering years, surrenders to the gravity
That pulls the tides. If life means to dissolve —
Is this the rule? And is the rule commutative:
If birth is death, to die is to be born? —
Then he is living into dissolution
And back again, in this sackcloth of skin.
He shrinks inside its folds: reverse gestation.
Meanwhile, he pinches flesh and sees it hold
Its pinched shape. No elastic left. So old
And yet so young, he laughs. So young, so old.
On the year’s longest day, the sun shines cold.

Sally Thomas

Sally Thomas's new book, Motherland, was a finalist for the 2018 Able Muse Book Award in poetry, and will appear from Able Muse Press in the fall of 2019. She is also the author of two poetry chapbooks: Fallen Water (2015) and Richeldis of Walsingham (2016), both from Finishing Line Press. Her poetry and fiction have appeared recently in The Agonist, Forma, Mezzo Cammin: An Online Journal of Formalist Poetry by Women, North Carolina Literary Review, The Orchards Poetry Journal, and Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry. She lives and writes in the Western Piedmont of North Carolina.

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