California child speaks in August

by Leah Claire Kaminski


swiveling in from the ends to the hot nested scalp, it was meant to be yes, August,
this is what is happening when she busses the lather close.

it happened this shampoo is how it happens, it is the moment of now. why she never
knows how they splice minerals from metal. the water is bog-sick in August,

from here, it’s thumbing the swamp into her head, the heron and the duck, it’s their preen
slicking her over, with August

when cat sits by the faucet. that’s why it’s why they’re all staring at the fountain, why when
they say the things that have to be said the nonspeaker looks askance

at the fountain, because this swamp, this maybe volatile-compounded, this swamp they
stamp in from states away, they breathe and wade and swim and taste

it like it is here. and as it has to, this has to, when she moved here her mom’s first cocktails
crying by the pond, pomegranate swamp, mom’s nose August-fertile,

the drain that her cat sniffs around in like a sheet with many folds, a sheet sitting in blinds
moving with false wind, and her cat is wise, and her ears get larger in August

when the swamp smell comes up through the drinking and the categorical cleaning of
herself, and August

is the swamp, and cat puts her whole foot in her ear to get it: she thought it was only last
year but she’s nosing down: from her diamond face

to the drain, the drain, and then her glass, she sniffs things, is soothed but then here cat, here
we are when somewhere this is a season of honest movement.


You can find LEAH CLAIRE KAMINSKI‘s work in Tupelo Quarterly, Catch Up, and Midway Journal, as well as upcoming in Witness Magazine and Negative Capability. She teaches writing at UC Irvine, and is shopping her first book around: it will be called In case it’s catching it quick that’s important. Follow her sporadic missives on twitter @leahkaminski.