Friday, July 23, 2021

Summer Days by J.I. Kleinberg

There were always skippers on the ice plant,
a half-inch long, the color of butterscotch

and not very fast. We could pinch their wings
between thumb and index finger and liked

to feel the fluttering against our palms
as we held them in our cupped hands. Later

we smeared their golden dust on our cheeks.
We never thought they might be important:

they were like moths — a lower order of things,
not like real butterflies, or even dragonflies,

which we rarely saw, or fireflies, which
were probably only in books. There were lizards

too, small and brown and fast and when we tried
to catch them, we sometimes ended up

with just a tail between our fingers,
and sometimes saw one missing a tail

and tried to examine that place
that was wounded but not bloodied

and wondered if we could do that too,
leave behind some part that would grow back,

not yet understanding the scraped wings of the heart
or the oozing scars of love.

J.I. Kleinberg’s poems have been published in print and online journals worldwide. An artist, poet, freelance writer, and three-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she lives in Bellingham, Washington, USA, and on Instagram @jikleinberg.


  1. Evocative of childhood truths, thoughtful, deep, and calm observation

  2. I was sort of nodding along with the child being careless with nature until the last two lines choked me up.
    Those poems you quarry out of print, the self-effacing method, that's all fine. Happy to read those.
    Maybe I'm too lazy to connect the dots in the clippings, but when you have the whole little mountain to mine, it always means more to this one reader.

    1. Thank you, Doug. You're not lazy. Maybe I am, though the inclination to speak in several voices seems an inevitable part of my creativity.