Kansas Drought

Four days now of this

unrelenting heat leaves

withered like wrinkled hands

uplifted veins distended


in supplication but there

is no cooling when mercury

climbs steadily day by day

streamflows below normal


drought conditions spreading

across weather maps this year

the second hottest since May 1938

so we huddle in the shade with cats


settling deep into a last bit coolness

in the shadow of the barn

watch the news as food banks

now hand out fans and water


refill feeders for hummingbirds

splash water in drying birdbaths

run drip hoses through melons

and cucumbers the meter ticking


harvests shrink, tassels on field corn

burning off too early ears pulled down

by deer and coon from rows gone

white from swirling clouds of road dust


porch boards burn beneath old men

saying how you can eat this humidity

as they gaze out at the highway’s mirage

petals dropping silently from the trellis rose