Drought

By KERRY JAMES EVANS

 

My neighbor Geraldine

runs her sprinkler

like a public fountain.

 

The kids run through hollering

when all that dead grass

stabs their little plum feet,

 

but their feet don’t seem

to mind. Meanwhile,

death cowers in me

 

like a dog with heat stroke,

huffing in shade to cool

its body—as if humidity

 

doesn’t lurk under the porch,

where critters cuddle up

close with lost toys

 

and buried bones. Within

summer is another

—one dryer, lonelier.

 

I pour buckets of water

on the plants. No growth.

I pour buckets of water

 

on the grass. Only weeds.

My water glass distorts

a mosquito, but I look

 

anyway, then fling a stream

across the porch

and onto the ground.

 

The water runs in its rivulets,

a formless body always

seeking. Left alone, it

 

will explore the earth

until evaporation. If lucky,

it fills a noble shape

 

like the prickly pear,

whose name in Arabic

means patience or tenacity.

 

Of course, we agree that water

is incapable of reasoning.

Why, then, does it seek?

 

Kerry James Evans is the author of Bangalore (Copper Canyon). 

Photo by Freestone Wilson

Drought

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