Photographs by: Christopher Prosser and Shaun Schroth / Words by: Tom Rau and Heather Fawn
Across the Margin, in coordination with Washington D.C. photographers Christopher Prosser and Shaun Schroth, concludes its interpretations of the seasons through both snapshots and words with the swarthy month of Summer…….
I did a lot of hanging out with my imaginary friend when I was a kid. My brother tried to kill him, kidnap him, drown him in the washing machine. A lot of shit went down. The greatest thing about an imaginary friend is that no one can take them away. No matter what. Ever. You know in movies, right when the hero hits rock bottom and his inspiring friend1 gives the speech that always ends in: “They can never take that away from you. No matter what, you always have that!”? In general they are referring to will, to the unique soul that makes our hero great, the power to never give up. In my case they could have just been talking about my imaginary friend, Larry.
We would kick it around the farm, marching to the beat of an army of drummers; building dreams that rivaled Atlantis. In hindsight I see Larry and I as a scaled down version of Johnny Appleseed,2 with pots on our head cavorting across the acreage of the farm. Instead of spreading apples, Larry and I bobbed around spreading goodwill and cheer to the animals on the farm3. Or in some cases just throwing rocks at them. My crack team consisted of myself, Larry, the cat known as Orange Paint, and Buddy the Dog who was our most trusted cohort that provided us with one of the single greatest moments in the history of the universe.
One day Larry and I came around the side of the garage while on a security sweep to find older brother tormenting Buddy the Dog. There was a clothespin attached right at the top of Buddy the Dog’s nose; the tiny perfect spot with just a pinch of extra skin. Try as he might Buddy the Dog could not quite get his giant fluffy golden paws into a position to remove it. Over and over and over he tried to knock the safety pin off his nose, lifting his arms and giant paws within millimeters of where they needed to be. He was concerned with nothing else of course. It was the cutest possible form of animal torture. Older brother laughed, the menacing laugh that only an older brother and a distorted view of the past can provide. I begged him to stop, made a move towards Buddy the Dog, but was quickly halted with an impossible to breach stiff arm.
On rare occasions life shrugs, tilts its head, and hands you something miraculous.
In a god-like moment of sheer beauty4, Buddy’s face began to contort and transform into something powerful and lion-like. Older brother had leaned in towards him, the slowed down and screw-esque echo of his laughter filling the summer sky. Buddy the Dog’s mane now almost fully formed, his nose almost wholly widened, his whole being Aslan-like. In this moment the clothespin popped into the air, and with it was released the snottiest and most epic sneeze in the history of time all over older brother’s face. Larry and I jumped in the air, embraced like ancient warriors having chased out the last of the invading Orcs.
That afternoon, after what was probably an obligatory beat down from older brother (who would remember after such a victorious battle?) Larry, Buddy the Dog, and I shared an epic feast of fruit picked from our royal orchard. This was my round table. I was the king of summer.
The heat of summer stays with me
Sleepless nights spent with irreverent authors
Stare down some beast through air conditioned sheets
Chirrup of a million frogs
Those nights, the ones that only come once
But feel like forever
Passed the time under glow of movie on repeat
Single cockroach met its demise
Charcoal on my fingers
New-found night-blindness intrigued
Longed-for but lonely summers
Humidity fills in for missing lovers
Envelop me in fever-sheen
The heat of summer is in me