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I live in California where the drought has been very difficult for many people. I am fortunate to still have water in my well in the country. This poem speaks of observations about all the dust we have been living with in this area.

Betty Luceigh
© October 18, 2014

Blown dust
scrambles alphabets of stories decayed,
scatters remains of past lives:
leaves and snakeskins,
fur and seeds,
antennae of ants,
feet of fleas–
all milled into Earth-flour.

Dust clings to the surface
of my outdoor chair,
some in hope my shorts
will generously transfer it
to a washing machine
dispersing free drinks,
other in fear a broom instead
may cast it far, far
from a nearby water bowl
in a skit of dry humor.

Dust coming, dust going, everywhere dust
for months, and months, and months,
it settles thin over my pillow,
thick over my dreams
of this drought’s end.

I hear dust’s song of sneezes
from noses strummed.
I watch dust sucked into my cleaner,
hide in air filters,
nap on my car windows.
I feel dust lick water off my skin,
tickle my eyes to force tears.

All the while this dust reminds me
of my own end,
of a day when what was me
will blow among other dust freed
to feed new beginnings.

But for now the dust and I
share a longing of wetness shared,
raindrops on us both,
feet dancing with mud,
both in joy of
forgotten umbrellas,
a time of
brooms replaced by mops,
plugged gutters overflowing,
stenciled paw prints on rugs,
shiny green reflections
peeking through the ground.

I will be reminded then
of my own story still in progress,
alphabet still in order,
a day when I smiled
soaked in the meaning
of being alive
with or without
the drought’s dust.