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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.

DROUGHT DUST
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.
 

 

 

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