We are stood on the threshold of summer, and we salivate with bare arms, tanned cheeks, and sweaty nights. It is the middle of June and soon the northern hemisphere will tip over the hill it has rolled up since December. Often I think of sleeping outside in the summer months, and, forgoing the gnats that would surely eat me alive – my blood sweet as sugar –, I marvel at how the same place amongst the pines that might coddle me in June would in January chill me to hospital or the cemetery. Indeed I walk along the streets and gasp at myself—‘But only six months ago, this was cold enough to rattle in the bones I keep beneath my thigh muscles and my knees so brittle.’ We learn to forgive, and every year we forget; we are in with love with the climate, though we seldom admit it. I have felt summer already, upon my chest as I lie half-strewn in morning sheets. The blinds I keep edged upwards rattle gently in the window’s breeze so that, fresh from nightmare, I lie and believe it is raining until I open my eyes fully, and the hue is of blue and eight-minutes-later June. It is not raining. I smile a sigh.

Recalling time and again, in the June of two-thousand-and-three, when I walked from Roehyde to Roberts Way. I do not know why I walked that route but did so as though my legs compelled me to. And as I walked I thought of Jenna, whom I adored desperately. I had learned her name and it rang throughout me. It did not matter than the soil beneath my feet had dried, that the leaves still left over from autumn had not rotted away because they crunched beneath my trail. Nowadays I am not so much for last year’s rotted leaves but the blossom that clots in the gaps between pavement slabs, blossom that has soured. What was once so beautiful now gags at the back of the throat!

June is slender with pronounced muscles about her body. She has large nipples that dangle for the babe of summer and hair grows thick between her legs. She undresses in the middle of the forest and the gnats climb over her there to bring about small red welts; she tickles their bellies and sends them on their way. June is the mother of summer like a Greek god or a sonnet. Everything that follows will be birthed through her slimness and she will not make a sound but for the birds who sing as the sun rises. June takes their song as long as she can, presses her lips to their plumage, and eventually they silence their rowdiness. It makes me laugh how loudly the birds sing when they are ready to. June sounds like a summer month, but she is not.

Because May was so cold, so miserable, no one came out to party, but now that June is intensely hot and bright, every plant, grass, weed and tree is burst at once with pollen, puffing into the air tiny particles that, to someone like me, are the devil. In certain slants of light, I swear I can see the pollen there, lending the firmament a yellow tinge. I have not known my allergies to be this way for years (since 2006 when I visited a friend who lived next to a field of horses, who played particular havoc with my sensitivities) and find it hard to cope; the hell of un-air-conditioned summer train carriages, hot facemasks, constantly dribbling nose, streaming eyes, endless sneezing fits, unable to breathe through my nostrils, pulling muscles in convulsions during the night causing me to walk with a limp, slowly running out of clean tissues as I feel the used ones soaking mucus into my pockets and warm against my hip, and every other passenger becoming frustrated or nervous for me. Finally I have enough and shout—‘Fuck!’ clawing a shrunken wet tissue to my face as it all drips over my lap. The other passengers stare at me or move to a safer part of the car.
My niece was born on the second day of summer, and this twenty-second of June she will turn three. She never eats her dinner, but screams until she finally settles down, placing one grain of rice at a time into her straw and sucking it through a mouthful of water. Over my bowl of prawn curry and tomato rice, I watch her place each grain delicately into her straw, then she sucks it through. Only I am paying attention to this most arduous method of consuming rice. By the fourth grain I am highly amused and laughing secretly. She looks at me and pulls a strand of fringe out her eyes. ‘Eat your rice,’ I tell her. ‘Rice is the greatest food in the world.’ She does not listen to me, but continues, one grain at a time.

I have seen the colour of water, how clear it can be when left upon the side as sunlight drags across it. When I walk to the station, the sun is already up and high in the sky. Its heat presses into my neck along S—— Rd. What more can I describe as the train wades out the county among mists that linger low against the land? It is all so beautiful, and I am so insignificant, so ill-equipped to take it all in.

Spare a thought for the south! As I lean into summer, so is my counterpart about the equator folded into winter. Let them! While I cringed beneath the boughs of February’s snowfall, they were sunning themselves on the Playa Piedras Coloradas without a care in the world for me.

I creep past the door behind which my only surviving grandparent sleeps. I avoid her at all costs. She is a cunt and too much for my delicate disposition at any time of the day in any season. If one is caught too long with her (any more than a minute), she begins to talk of the men who found her beautiful when she was younger – never mentions my angelic grandfather, mind – or tells us what a great dancer she was or talks of death and begins to splutter her boring stories through a staccato of tears, so that one rolls their eyes and walks away. She says mean things to my five-year-old niece – ‘Do not invite too many friends to your birthday party, otherwise they won’t speak to you’ – and only makes hassle for my parents who seek to entertain her for a week. She has cast a gloom over the house and her bowel movements render the downstairs bathroom unusable; but she has been asleep for a couple of hours now, so I should be safe. I sneak past without making a sound, hence I do not disturb her or provoke her to waken and talk to me. As I get inside the bathroom I urinate and then turn on myself before the mirror as I chance to inspect my terrible skin. I notice I have a new freckle. It is small, but it is there. I try to scratch it away but, no, it is a new freckle most certainly and cannot be scratched away. It is on my chin and I ponder for a minute whether it was there yesterday, but it was not. How long will this freckle upon my chin last? Does that mean that other freckles have vanished and their disappearance went unnoticed? There are clear patches of skin that were not clear before; now there was my chin with a new freckle on it. I went back to my desk.

It is in the distance; I see it there, the sun crisping its way up the blue night for the starlings and sparrows to sing bosomed melodies through. So what if it deters my slumber for a few more minutes? How slowly I have observed our eager star creep above the rooftops of my neighbour’s house. As I look out into the blooming garden, cats shift in double shadows about the window before me. We are on the threshold of summer. As it is born, I see it ruffle and plume. The night turns to blue turns to gold turns to dim, and soon morning dissipates over the roof under which I write. The birds come out to sing. Soon they will calm down as they befriend one another and ruffle. But for now, I must rest.