Judith Skillman

We come purified by heat and sweat to venerate August,
finally treasuring that last bastion of freedom: August.

What matter drought browns the lawn, its august
assortment of rabbits, deer, and birds? Already August.

The moon emblazoned on a turquoise sky, and gusts
of wind from the lake where bathers gather in August.

From memories of other years when summer, August,
especially, became the last bastion—our reprieve, oh August

became a plea: don’t fade, linger longer, become the ghost
of what you were if not the whole month, no, not August

leaving for its other kingdom? Where fasts and august
ceremonies ripe with fruit’s cornucopia bind. August!

On our tongues this exalted month melts. Other Augusts
come and gone—broadcasting seed. Amen to August.


JUDITH SKILLMAN’s new book is House of Burnt Offerings from Pleasure Boat Studio. The author of fifteen collections of poetry, her work has appeared in Tampa Review, Prairie Schooner, FIELD, The Iowa Review, and other journals. Judith became addicted to Ghazals after taking Carolyne Wright’s class at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle. The course was based on the text Ravishing DisUnities (Agha Shahid Ali, editor, Wesleyan Press, 2000). Visit