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Ghazal for the Athens-Concord Town Social, West Virginia
Peggy Turnbull


Sun’s high in August, we picnic when it gets hot.
Sidewalks stuffed with strollers, squalling kids, we celebrate hot.
Form a snaking line. Build towers of hot dogs, chili, slaw.
Workers sweat in merlot smocks, heft trays steaming hot.
Mr. Green-Haired Clown mimes to toddlers; wags goofy shoes.
While waltzing with bubbles, his whiteface melts. It’s that hot.
The peace group and food co-op share shade, stack leaflets.
Friends in tie-dyed tees crowd in. Out there’s too hot.
Bluegrass beats jazz the crowd. Lonesome lyrics picked fast.
The combo rips through Pretty Polly, cloggers stop, feet hot.
A serenade for Peggy’s last day of summer, next, classes start.
Dry leaves rustle, the sun sets sooner. It won’t stay hot.  

© by Peggy Turnbull.
Used with the author’s permission.

Peggy Turnbull is a former academic librarian who lives in the city of her birth, Manitowoc, Wisconsin. After four decades away, she and her husband moved back to live near four generations of her family. Peggy’s chapbook, The Joy of Their Holiness, was published in 2020 by Kelsay Press. Learn more about her at


Post New Comment:
Lori Levy:
Definitely feel hot reading this poem.
Posted 08/11/2021 06:29 PM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love this charming picturesque poem. Loved the repetition of the word hot.
Posted 08/11/2021 12:44 PM
Posted 08/11/2021 11:31 AM
I never pass up a Peggy Turnbull poem--straight from the heart with a sense of humor.
Posted 08/11/2021 11:28 AM
I loved your ghazal about the friendly country social. So hot, so vivid, I can hear the music.
Posted 08/11/2021 11:11 AM
Mike Stinson:
What a pleaant surprise to see your poem in my mailbox this morning, Peggy! "While waltzing with bubbles, his white face melts" stood out for me, but I appreciate the whole poem greatly. Cheers!
Posted 08/11/2021 10:19 AM
michael escoubas:
Peggy, thank you for this rollicking good time with sights, sounds at a lyrical carnival!!
Posted 08/11/2021 09:03 AM
Wilda Morris:
Excellent form for this hot-weather poem. And wonderful details!
Posted 08/11/2021 08:43 AM
Great details and fun, purposeful repetition of "hot"--like not matter what someone there is doing, the heat is always weighing on them!
Posted 08/11/2021 06:58 AM

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