August 2: Homage

by Linda Neal


A prodigal ache sets in when the plumeria blooms

and fat watermelons lay their bellies on the ground

to escape the hot smell

of the season’s first Santa Ana wind.


It’s never just any hot beach of a Saturday,

August second, not just any smoggy, windy weekend,

but a day as dead as a mussel

washed up on the rocks.


A shell of a day that would have been

the anniversary

of a marriage that got lost

somewhere between the move from double bed

to California King.


Maybe between a springtime rain and

one of those Santa Anas

that comes too early,

before the summer sand and dust

can settle.


I picked a white rose, put it in a vase,

and wondered if he did the same.


Linda Neal’s award-winning work has been published in California Quarterly, Embers, Lummox, ONTHEBUS, Pacific Coast Journal, Peregrine, and more. Her poetry memoir, Dodge & Burn, was published by Bambaz Press in 2014. She has attended the Palm Beach Poetry Festival and Squaw Valley Writer’s Conferences among others. Neal has studied Method Writing with Jack Grapes, Healing Writing with Deena Metzger, and has taken workshops with several instructors in the UCLA Writers’ Program. Her love of words and the subtle complexities of language led her to a BA in linguistics. She lives with her dog, Mantra, in a ’40’s cottage in Redondo Beach, California. 

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