St. Paul Almanac, 2012

thunderstormSkin 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.