The Sea of August: An Original Sestina

The girl trails her hand, skims the tops of wheat.

Perfection casts over her horizon.

The sun, a lifeboat in the sea of August.

She has no words for the golden fire—

there are no words for such beauty. She can only etch

a ghost of what Mother Nature presents.


At last, she returns home, and presents

her basket of wheat

and wildflowers, daisies and poppies, etched

with color, though soon draining of life, horizons

coming to a close, the dying fire

of the light in days of August.


The cabin fills with rays of happiness as august

company descends around the girl like the presence

of moths on a lantern alight with fire.

Father, Mother, Brother help grind yesterday’s wheat

as the window shines the sun’s of the horizon,

casting shadows on faces, darkening the detail of Father’s whiskers, etched


into his cheeks, the way an artist would etch

the daisies in the mason jar, basked in the light of August.

But it sets quickly on the farmland horizon—

soon stars will peek as the moon’s present

to the night sky, peering over the sleepy wheat,

and the only light will be the grate-full of fire.


Their pot of stew roasts and crackles on that fire.

Wayward coals of countless flames have etched

ashes into the floor, which is scattered with spindly stalks of wheat,

leftover from the thirty-one suppers of August.

The girl brings the basket-full as a present,

and they can thank the sun hidden over the horizon.


Father, Mother, Brother pray to that horizon—

to daisies and poppies, food on their table, made warm by fire,

everything, the here and now, the present,

the love in the simplicity they have, etched

in their emotions, the august

honesty, purity, as plain as crunchy morsels of wheat.


An artist can etch this scene—the horizon,

the wheat, and the fire—

into perfection of August, and present it as a present.