The western horizon is still lightning blue.

To the east, everything is side-of-the-bridge grey.

I am patient as trees and flowers, desert cacti.


The grandkids hide inside with swollen eyes

and I want the rain to come quick, slap

their pale necks. I’ve counted the summers left


and the young should take this rain beside me

as I took father’s wheat, corn, and whole bloody harvest.

I roll one more September cigarette,


Summer coughs her last cough;

a dribble from which the children hide,

stay dry while rain loosens the soil.





First published in  published in New Writing Scotland #26 (2008), revised for Tomorrow, We Will Live Here (2010).