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When Summer Breathes
Margaret Coombs


Because we waste not, when gooseberries
dangle from our fence, I harvest the sour spheres,
eager to can. My husband toils alone inside,
ticks numbers off a spreadsheet. Our child
skips in circles, gyrates to peepers bellowing
in the violet evening. I tell him fairies dance
between the roots of our ancient pine. I want
to give him a world suffused with awe.
We travel to old growth forests, waterfalls
and rivers, seek the magic of summer hail,
the loon’s cry. For a trace of time we are earth’s
acolytes, tending to tomatoes, savoring pears.
Come out, Dad, our son shrieks. We hear a chair
scrape against the bare floor, the screen door squeak.
The night ratchets up in happiness. And creation,
bringer of our abundance—how to bless it in return? 

© by Margaret Coombs.
Used with the author’s permission.


Margaret Coombs is a retired academic librarian who lives in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She recently changed her writing name to her birth name as a way to connect with the literary dreams she had as a child. Margaret's work has appeared in several publications and her first chapbook, The Joy of Their Holiness, was published in 2020 under the name Peggy Turnbull. Learn about Margaret at



Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
"For a trace of time we are earth?s / acolytes." That is my favorite phrase in this joyous poem. Thank you!
Posted 07/21/2020 04:16 PM
You have vividly described something wonderful--everyday life playing out.
Posted 07/20/2020 10:52 AM
You have found such lovely poetry in seemingly small moments?thank you for this bit of peace and joy.
Posted 07/19/2020 06:19 PM
Lori Levy:
Beautiful language.
Posted 07/19/2020 05:58 PM
beautiful and caring poem.
Posted 07/19/2020 03:44 PM
A perfect childhood and a beautiful poem.
Posted 07/19/2020 01:39 PM
This poem is a blessing.
Posted 07/19/2020 11:59 AM
Beautiful, real and profound. I'm saving this one.
Posted 07/19/2020 11:42 AM
Jean Colonomos-1:
So graceful, so the reminder of awe. Thank you.
Posted 07/19/2020 10:52 AM
Lovely poem.
Posted 07/19/2020 09:43 AM
Posted 07/19/2020 08:47 AM
Larry Schug:
But bless nature and ourselves we must.
Posted 07/19/2020 07:51 AM
If we don't take care of our home, the earth, who will?
Posted 07/19/2020 06:36 AM

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