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The Dog Days of Summer
Nancy Machlis Rechtman


I look up and watch the cheery white clouds skimming by
like rowboats across the brilliant blue sky,
incongruously contrasting with the misery of the relentless rays of the sun
now set on broil.

The flowers are few and far between,
exhausted from the effort to stay alive,
while the usually cheery tomatoes
are struggling to keep up the pretense
that all is well.
The cucumbers are scraggly and yellow;
they’ve succumbed to the unending waves of blistering heat
and won’t be revived.

Even the pups barely manage several laps around the yard
before crashing onto the ground,
panting frantically.
My hound has decided he’s in a ‘50s movie
about the South,
where dogs would spend the afternoon
stretched out across the back porch
in a time when there was no air-conditioning,
only fans wheezily whirring,
and no one expected them to do anything but sleep.

I know I need to shake off the lethargy,
so I bring the dogs back inside,
into the blessed air-conditioning,
where they lap up water so loudly and melodramatically
it sounds like the kitchen has become a splash pool.
They sink onto the cool, hard floor,
don’t even pick up their heads when I reluctantly say good-bye.
Strapping on my water bottle,
I force my vociferously protesting body
to stop wimping out
so I can get in my 10,000 steps—
even if the world has become a firepit.

© by Nancy Machlis Rechtman.
Used with the author’s permission.


Nancy Machlis Rechtman is a poet, playwright, freelance writer, and former newspaper copy editor. Her work has been published in a variety of journals. Nancy has lived on both coasts, but currently makes her home in South Carolina, where she enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, creating art, and playing the guitar. Learn more about her at




Post New Comment:
I can feel the heat radiating off your words, Nancy! Well done!
Posted 08/15/2023 02:27 PM
Wilda Morris:
Yes, indeed! We have experienced some of that kind of heat this summer.
Posted 07/07/2023 12:05 PM
Lori Levy:
Can feel the heat when I read this!
Posted 07/04/2023 01:03 AM
I do not write good free verse, BUT I know it when I read it. This is a vividly spot-on description of the effects of summer heat. Great figures of speech!
Posted 07/03/2023 02:24 PM
You nailed the heat Nancy! I pictured everything wilting including the dogs! I felt the heat with every living thing around you. Now I need to cool off! Thank you and good luck!
Posted 07/03/2023 12:18 PM
Cathy’s Sister:
Took me right smack into summer. Can feel the heat of the misery of the relentless rays of the sun now set on broil. Well done!
Posted 07/03/2023 10:38 AM
I repeated "wheezily whirring" five times because I loved the sound.
Posted 07/03/2023 09:48 AM
Larry Schug:
We're never satisfied. In January, we yearn for a day like the one described so well in this poem. Right now I'm picturing one of my now departed dogs, Mojo, rolling in the snow.
Posted 07/03/2023 08:21 AM
Darrell Arnold:
Cleverly told. I like it.
Posted 07/03/2023 08:18 AM
liz dolan:
Yes, I agree, Nancy. It's 6 AM and hot as Hades in DE.
Posted 07/03/2023 06:46 AM

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