For August

roses2

For August, a checklist:

Buy roses, an odd number as the French do, rather than an American dozen–white roses, with a blush, to suit the bleached sky in the afternoon and the crumbs on the tablecloth. Cut the stems very short. Wipe the dark cobalt vase to place on the dining table. Fill the bowl with water each morning and sigh.

Water the monster red geranium, the one that managed to over-winter, the one that spilled out and overwhelmed its large ceramic pot to litter rubied petals on the deck that look like jam stains.

Check the Orthodox calendar to confirm the feast day of the Dormition of the Theotokos. I am not Orthodox, but the stores close in Athens and it would be difficult to find a taxi if I was there.

Count the cantaloupes swelling on the vine. I tickled the yellow-starred blossoms with a twig because I didn’t trust the bees. They seemed distracted.

Move the hanging fuchsia to the backyard; a doe crept up on the front porch early one morning and ate two-thirds of it. The dog warned me, but I stayed in bed.

Bundle up the wool Flokati rugs and lug them down to the local laundromat. (Laundromats are damp and dismal places, even with all the hopeful scents of detergent and fabric softener.)  Load a bag of quarters in three industrial-size machines, cold water only, and work the crossword puzzle in the free weekly newspaper while the machines spin. Lug the wet wool home again and flatten the rugs to dry in the sun for several days, turning as needed.

Let the young repair men inside to replace the tattered canvas of the awning. Though I tugged the monster geranium and its fellow potted flowers out of the way, the trailing petunia managed to be crushed underfoot.

Walk Ben to the park and loop down Walnut Lane to see the enormous house under construction. Let the workers pet Ben, but avoid the nice woman with the yellow Lab, because Ben is sketchy sometimes. Throw sticks for Mercy on the hill and let her greet the neighbor’s landscapers who arrive every Wednesday. She’s still wary of loading in the car.

Thread together eight thousand words of assorted prose to submit to USC’s Goldline Press chapbook competition. (Not quite at the last minute, though the deadline was extended two weeks; I submitted one day prior to the deadline. That’s August.)

Rip open the cardboard packaging to reveal my contributor copy of The Tishman Review arrived and see my piece nestled next to an illustration on page 92.

Strain the red currents that soaked in apple cider vinegar for a week and blend the juice with a thyme-infused simple syrup. Bottle the fruit shrub and tuck it away, satisfied with sampling the overfill.

Think of calling the chimney sweep, but sit on edge of the front porch and roll the white blossoms of summer savory between my fingers instead.

Author: Kim K. McCrea

Kim K. McCrea worked as a System Analyst for 25 years building out the internet of things before returning to letters in 2017. Kim won the Treefort Wild West Writing Prize, was runner up in Cutbank short prose contest, and named a finalist in Proximity Magazine's Essay Prize and the Barry Lopez Creative Nonfiction Contest. Her work appears in Cutbank, Tishman Review, Thoughtfuldog, and Watershed Review. Kim lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she wrangles her Labrador in the rain.

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