Love in July

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There is so much rich, contradictory imagery in “Love in July” – it came to mind the other day when I was thinking about pens and handwriting, and very few poems I’ve come across in my life referred in such evocative ways to handwriting as does “Love in July”. In fact the imagery overall is vivid in ways that make no sense to describe (the poetry, the imagery, speaks for itself)…

Love in July
Ivan Lalić
I
Open this evening like a letter,
Its handwriting spotted with blood of birds
Devoured in the bright lava of the afternoon.

Open this evening like a rose,
That dust, that bronze, and that sweat on your skin,
That constellation that breathes.

Open this evening like a letter.
I’m hidden in its handwriting
Like a shadow in the still leaves of a cherry tree,
Or like noon in our blood.

Comes night grown over with rain and cherries,
And the wavering diamonds of sudden freshness.
Open this evening like a letter.

The date is illegible, time without beginning,
But the signature is clear:
I love.

II
The taste of the storm in the stalk of the invisible rose
That you twirl absentmindedly between your fingers.
Summer golden and dark.

But there’s no wind, and the rain glitters
On your words like phosphorus
On the seams of the water.
Summer golden and dark.

The lightning that travels slower than memory
Will never again give us light in this place.

That lightning still buried in snows and flowers
In its journey around the year.
The taste of rain on your lips,
Summer golden and dark.

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