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  • Writer's picturePenny Harter


Dog Days: the sultry part of the summer, supposed to occur during the period that Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun, the hottest time of the year in ancient Greece, a time that could bring fever or disaster. A period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.

Dog Days At the Farmstand

As I pull in, I notice in the car next to

mine a barking white poodle, and I worry

about him in the heat, then note the dog’s

owners have left the car’s air-conditioning

on while they harvest the many bins.

This farmer grows it all on his own fields

which stretch out behind this elongated shed—

acres of corn, tomatoes, green beans, cabbage,

cucumbers, basil, peppers, and more—his

tables overflowing with succulent summer.

And at the end of the wooden stands, bakery

shelves behind glass display muffin-tops,

fresh blueberry pies, turnovers. I succumb to

a cranberry-orange muffin-top, plan to eat it

in the car before I even get home.

It’s a surreal scene, rows of masked people

wandering up and down the aisles, served

by masked teenagers toting up the costs

with a pencil on a little pad. No high-tech

here except for the charge-card skimmer.

Suddenly it’s August, and we have plunged

into the dog-days—not named as I thought for

the days overheated dogs lie around panting on

lawns or driveways, but rooted in the ancient

Greek beliefs about Sirius rising in the heavens.

Fever, disaster, lethargy, inactivity, or indolence—

yes, all of these are with us this pandemic summer,

yet home now, I unload my fresh corn, green beans,

Jersey tomatoes, and cucumbers, and rejoice as I

shuck my two young ears of sweet white corn!

© copyright 2020 Penny Harter

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