Wild in August

When I say I’ll miss you, know that
I’ve already begun. I’m 100 days ahead

in the marsh by the beach, 

and I’m crouching near dune snails. 
Shoulderbands’ air-breathing bodies are rare, 
but they’re still stepped on, crushed under tires,

smashed like glass shards on the gravelly path.

My nephew Archie was born yesterday, and today, 
in Vermont, the towering hollyhocks grow, 

their easy sway keeps them from falling.
Pink petals flutter like eyelids, spine-like 
stalks move with the wind off the lake—

their star-hairs vibrate, an invisible shield.

Before I shift the snails to safety, hide them 
in the reeds—their brown bands 

barely visible in the grey 
of early December—I tug their shells 
to see if they cling or let go. Then I wait, 

sometimes minutes, for their release. 


Jenny Mary Brown’s work has been in Berkeley Poetry Review, PRISM, International, Hobart, and DIAGRAM, among others. Jenny is New Jersey-raised but lives in Arcata, California, where she teaches and works for a rock and roll band.