June Joon

I closed the curtains at dusk when fireflies had already begun their cocktail hour. The flicks of gold against the shadows of trees—or at least my awareness of them—are the start of June.

I got curious about June. I clicked around at the last seven years of June entries on this blog. June 2014, 2016, 2019. Then, I typed “June” on my phone and 5,612 photos from all the Junes it can remember came up. I got sad comparing Junes to each other, old versions of myself, my family. I wanted to be in Jordan when my mother-in-law was still alive. I wanted to hold my kids in oversized sunglasses. I wanted the alignment of previous years. Kuhshkeh.

I’ve been thinking of this Farsi word a lot lately. Kuhshkeh. It’s a shoulder-shrug word, a casual response to seeing something you want or remembering an outcome you’d want to change. It’s akin to it would have been nice, or I wish. Tonally sad but as universal as the cracking of sunflower seeds between teeth. Swiping leaves off the patio chair. Scent of rainwater on warm dirt.

Kuhshkeh I could gather the old June scenes like material things, like palm-sized trinkets on a dining table that I could hold in my hand or put in my pocket or in my mouth or anywhere but in the unvisitable. Because I love them and feel glad for them and never quite know what to do with the feeling of visiting past years. Gratitude. Reflection. And then, a tender mourning mixed with the hope for more of the same. Living with a mix of it, even though living means the threat of harm by the unexpected, by an absolute stranger.

I think of the photographs of Japanese fireflies accessorizing the beach or a forest in dazzling clusters of bioluminescent blue pearls. I think kushkeh like the extensive stretches of light, I could see all those Junes all at once. A string of them lit over the patio while the grill sizzles, forthcoming. Living with a mix of it, because living is also a spray of thoughtfulness coming back to you from people you don’t expect.

Fireflies bloom for a short period in summertime, so I’m silly for not expecting them tonight. The cape of the year disguised their annual palooza and, now, drew the curtains.