Withered grass crackles under my feet, and my flip-flops leave a dusty trail en route to the backside of the farm. I am intent on closing a gate, but halfway along I kneel to study wide cracks of parched earth and discover underground ant highways and intersections exposed by the drought.
I rise to the long screech of a red-tailed hawk. He sits high above me in a live oak, and I hear the flutter of giant wings on takeoff. I look up to watch him soar to his favorite perch atop a dead pine that overlooks thirsty pastures, teeming with appetizers of baby rabbits and mice.
Plastered in sweat and dust, I secure the back gate and try to spit a salty, metallic taste from my mouth, but I’m dehydrated and only manage to fire a pathetic chain of spittle toward the sun.
Nothing but dirt scents the air. Grit has lodged in my nostrils as I follow the same dusty path back to the house. A few low-level clouds have gathered. But I’m skeptical. Every afternoon, clouds congregate to tease a chance of showers. Then right after sunset, the stingy sky-angels dissipate and take with them my incantations for rain.
Fat droplets of water from their gray bellies are what I long for. A widespread downpour that hammers for hours to animate birds, fill the ditches, hatch mosquitoes, incite a frog symphony, douse wildfires, flood trails, and green back the ravaged fields and the trees.
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In August we’re exploring the theme Rain.