Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Slow & Coiling

Afternoon temperature. In the shade.

Slow & Coiling

drought doesn’t rage
like hurricanes or tear
the world like twisters

it’s a slow dismantling
of yellowed ecosystems
ash blown on wind

blind salamanders
blocks from a jenga tower
pulled one by one

cracks snake the earth
the quiet collapse of cattle
roaming mudpits, abandoned

fawns starving on roadsides
constellations of vultures
summer’s stars dark and full

silent silent sky
smoky whispers of a thousand
cigarette wildfires, sirens

a lone bat loops the dusk
where swallows and kingbirds
once flew toward trees

songless losing leaves
months before their time
tree rings tell futures

constricted bands
a snake coiling around
this thirsty dying land

10 Comments

  1. If you had a traditional thermometer, I could make a joke about coyote mercury. Alas. This drought y’all are having is no laughing matter either, it seems.

  2. A powerful poem with vivid imagery. A great read.

  3. The carelessness of smokers with their cigarettes unnerves me, especially at a time like this when anything can set off a wildfire.

    Praying for rain on this end of TX, too.

  4. It’s become so overused to say it at this point, but I wish I could send you some of our rain. 😛 Here where the land is drowning, it’s tough to watch at a distance where it’s gasping. And now it’s looking like only the eastern fringes will get rain from Lee this weekend… I’ll send my butterflies to flap their wings and change things around.

  5. Thanks, Joseph, for the concern and the butterflies. We only caught the dry side of Lee, which lowered the humidity an raised the wind. Now everything is burning. What we need is a hurricane to come in south of Corpus.

  6. I just found you on Dave Bonta’s sidebar, and was happy to read this poem – not because it’s a happy poem, but because it’s comforting to find another Texan finding a way to talk about all this.

    I’m in League City, between Houston and Galveston. I’ve spent most of the day watching the radar, trying to move some rain in by sheer force of will. It’s not working, today. Maybe tomorrow. I think you got some, though. I hope so. If not, maybe tomorrow.

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