Vignettes of Lovers in Summer

In the spirit of autumn's leaves turning and all things sentimental in this season, Eileen shares a farewell to summers and lovers gone by in a collection of poems called Vignettes of Lovers in Summer.

vignettes of lovers in summer


i wrote a poem to bring you back to me

i tried to reanimate you, imagined who you were now and where we could go together but there is a gulf between past and present and happily, you desecrated the bridge between now and then

we suffered dreams of grandeur, as all children do

and made promises in the grass that would

fade with the autumn of my college years

twice, i tried to write you back

as if the boldness of my stanzas would remind you of our tired themes

i wrote of you and all of alphabet city

and how you danced with chili spices in the kitchen

i suppose then i was hoping you would remember that night in Brooklyn

huddled close from the rain

in a cramped flat

late for dinner

the zipper caught on my dress

and i told you that for all of Europe

i would stay for you

—there was another false promise that december

but i can't be sure who broke it first

well the New Yorker liked my poem to you

and didn't publish it anyway

i forgave them sooner than i did you

later, when you buried yourself

balls-deep in her:

i realized

she looks better on you

the way you wear her

with the earnest and gleaming artificiality

of a man who's bought his first real suit

i've seen you choking on your ambition

spitting out her pearls

as though you could architect your white collar future

by devouring a woman whole

i know i still make you sweat through your jacket

i wish you and your wine a happy solace


it might've been one weekend in May

spent in a caravan on a cold beach

but in the retelling of the story

it was a summer that stretched years

and our vows infinite

or something like that

once, when i cried about my crooked teeth

you got angry with me

wishing i wouldn't be so cruel to myself

i still thank you for that kindness

i still don't wear braces

when you showed me bohemia

by mixing absinthe in plastic cups

 in the pale yellow light of morning

staring out to the street in Amsterdam

you introduced me to the woman i'd become

someone who believed in small adventures

and the pursuit of light and colour

now i imagine you in Paris instead of Plymouth, where i left you

and your sunburn has faded

and your inexhaustible hope still contagious

i  think of you whenever i see balloons


when you walked me into the sea

i thought you were a naiad, a goddess

anything but real

i could hardly believe you were there

i blinked back tears

because of course our nights together were stolen

when would i see you again by the swings, by the shore?

i had never known my queerness so honestly

so earnestly than with you

walking with you,

it felt like taking in a great breath of air

after a lifetime of small labored gasps

surely this is forbidden

you made me feel braver than i'd ever been

wearing your boots,

wading into the soft tide where the harbour met the sky

i have loved you ever since you told me

what you favorite bone was

but when


told me you loved me,

i buried the note in my journal

and couldn't think of england anymore

you live in me as a reminder of

my favorite self.

if ever you do see paradise,

send me an orange


in truth, i have spent exactly one night in your company.

a perfectly tame night in july

i have reimagined this night in so many iterations

i am not even certain what happened

but there were cigars and coffee

we talked of our grandfathers

and what home was

where home may be

i have never kissed you, friend

but if given the chance,

a thousand times over,

on your patio under the cloudy august sky


some mornings,

i imagine what i would be doing

if i were there

vignettes play out like happy scenes during my grey days

you in the kitchen with tagliatelle

and me sitting on the counter with wine

this memory doesn't exist except for my persistence of it

if given the chance, maybe i wouldn't love you

but i have wondered

     would it be devastating

// 05

i don't know why i chose you, really

or how you settled so smoothly into a routine

of caring for me those odd weeks

i read you Kerouac all summer on dark pink sheets

and you seemed to be, at the very least, entertained

i proved to be an unexpected plot device in your bildungsroman

you traveled the world after our long talks in the front room

about climbing mountains and the American dream

i'd like to think i inspired you

but i have never asked.