July Girl

This poem was written for the Read Write Poem prompt #35: Fun In the Sun and is an adaptation of a previously written poem “How Hot Does It Get”. Ahhhh, the glorious heat in the South. “Burford, spread them goobers out on the sidewalk and roast ’em a bit will ya? And how ’bout puttin’ a tad more of granny’s recipe in this here fruit jar with some branch water. Now this is livin’.”

July Girl is a freckled New York acquaintance,
She made a few often heard comments today.
She said, “How do you Southerners stand the heat?
In the summer, how hot is it down your way?”

“Aren’t you bothered by those tourist traffic jams?”
“I bet your flower gardens have turned to toast.”
“When you do get out in that hot sun,
Do you slather on SPF 50 or just roast?”

“I imagine you need an old lady’s wide brim hat,
Something to cast a shadow and shield your head.”
“Hey, at night do you lay on top of the covers,
Trying to get as far away from each other in bed?”

When July Girl visited the Gulf Coast sand and surf,
She wore a flowery cotton dress from head to toe.
Cranky and wishing she was somewhere else
She blurted out, “What was I thinking, I’ll never know.”

In July her birthdays have marked the fleeting years.
For her, summer is a joyous time to celebrate.
But standing on the beach in the blistering heat,
That momentous day she could only bemoan and berate.

“I am cursed and cast upon a desert island,
Surrounded by miseries company,” she said.
The sun had spoiled her picnic fixin’s,
Potato salad, goo-goo bars, and salami on rye bread.

She came here to find sand dune solitude,
A respite on this Southern soft sandy beach.
Having left her Northern temperate climes,
Driving through vacationer traffic to reach.

But now she stood with fair skin blushed,
Cursing the unforgiving intense afternoon sun,
Wishing for a clouded damp Yankee day,
To throw off her cover-up and have a little fun.

Watching her wilt was a really pathetic sight.
So I said, ” Darlin’ this really ain’t so bad,
Think about that wall to wall asphalt in ole NYC,
Opposed to there – being here should make you glad.

Look at our pristine beach so clean and free,
Families enjoying the day at a leisurely pace.
They are laughing and playing having fun-in-the-sun,
There’s not a frown or a tear on the smallest face.

Look how the sun light makes diamonds on the water,
Feel that breeze that tickles the black oak trees,
Without summer heat our beloved cicadas stop croaking
Our magnolias not attended by squadrons of bees.

All those tourist are as welcome as neighbors,
Their wallets filled with cash and Visas to the brim.
We’ll dish out our best Southern hospitality,
“Y’all come back ya hear and bring wallets with you again.”

There are other advantages to the heat down here,
Things most visitors never know much about.
But most of us observe them in amazed interest,
You might say the cat-in-the-bag we don’t want out.

For instance, it’s been so hot the butterflies have melted
Evaporated, to color our beautiful Southern sunset sky.
Yep, and the other day when I went bass fishin’,
My catch came boiled or bake – really, no lie.

This mornin’ my wife used not a skillet to cook,
She said, “Sweetie, sit down, your breakfast is made.”
For days it’s been so hot, all of our hens,
At night, fried and poached eggs they have laid.

There are a whole bunch of other observations,
Things that have been happening here for ages.
If you do much reading you’ll find it all each year,
Written as prognostication in the Almanac pages.

The days may get shorter with leaves falling off trees,
The beaches empty of visitors from New York to Delaware.
But we don’t buy insulated boots, fur hats or mittens galore,
Survival gear needs for those Northern winters up there.

Many Christmas Days are spend in sandals and shorts,
And we still have to dip our pets for ticks and pesky fleas.
At night we don’t have to sleep in flannel jammies,
As in the summer we just sleep in tee-shirts and BVDs.

For a moment consider your Northern blizzards and ice,
Maybe then you won’t fret about the heat and what it might do,
Because July Girl this winter when you’re shoveling snow,
I’ll be lying on the beach having a Julep in memory of you.

Copyright: 2008, Donald Harbour

7 thoughts on “July Girl

  1. Such an enjoyable piece! Full of giggles.

    “Watching her wilt” makes for a lot of fun, and the last couple lines are perfect.


  2. I loved the melting butterflies – a perfect image and a great Southern tall tale to boot. And I really like your use of rhyme – keeps the poem moving very effectively.


  3. you win the award for incorporating the most components of the prompt! i am july girl. well, to clarify, not necessarily THE july girl of this poem, but i am also A july girl.


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