Respite

Skin flakes like the brown earth.
The grass, each small and singular
strand, lies listless, without hope.
The squirrels, rulers
of the urban wood, sit and stare.
Even the lilac languishes,
brief glorious scent threatened.
Machined air hums in the houses.
On the sidewalks
there are no mothers watching
there are no children playing.
We are shut-in’s against the heat.
So when the rain comes,
pelting hard like in the old days,
my kids run into the street to
build a dam, a big dam, and I don’t care.
They haul wet pine needles
and old grass to the gutter.
Piles of it. And the water
backs up. It bubbles balloon scraps,
twigs, a rough catch in a willow branch.
Rain flattens grass to ground,
hair to cheeks, and though
its getting dark
I do not call them in.
Children need watering too.