It Was Summer Every Day in Brooklyn by Calgary Martin

It was summer every day in Brooklyn
as I remember it. I was a girl
the first day of my tenure, walking
through the oil-lacquered hours of late July,
black crescents forming in the nailbeds
of my toes, sandaled and scraped
by the primeval concrete. It was summer.
And every year thereafter, another
summer to make me forget the piss-stained
snows of January, exhaust fumes shorn
into the once pure banks of those metropolitan
rivers. Their ancient cliffs of ice. Their dark
demise in dirt. Our hopes for someday, very
dramatically yet very truly
frozen over. I loved myself here,
I loved it here, and here itself, I loved that, too,
I loved, peering through the blue gauze
of my windows over Lincoln Place,
the subway tile of my favorite coffee shop,
the subway tile before ascending to the street
on a museum day, a water taxi escape
when toxic river spray was cheaper than AC.
I was a girl and I marveled
at the sun in beautiful ocean waves cresting
down the east-west streets
of Manhattan, between the glass
columns of the business districts, whilst heaved
to and fro by the avenue and its hordes
of warm bodies, their glowing palms,
their bare necks glyphed with sweat. Yes,
when I remember, it was summer and I never
hungered in December, or pulled my hood
over my ears and eyes, unlooking,
unlistening, just trying to get home. I never questioned
this was home
in the summer. I was a girl
and I basked like a fish, like a child, like a compass
plant, an incandescent aster, opening
completely in the notion of Brooklyn.


Calgary Martin is originally from Washington State but spent her formative years in Brooklyn, NY. Her poems appear in Bluestem, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Cimarron Review, Nashville Review, The McNeese Review, and others. She lives in Illinois with her husband and son.