Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: summer

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

Heat Advisory

bring water, electrolytes
this night will burn

heat and light
have come untwined

out on the porch
I call back the dogs

swift feet, darkness
panting shadows

sweat beads my forehead
the stillness of trees

leaves roasted
beyond autumn gold

pray for rain, ask
in secret for hurricanes

they claim this red moon
only reflects



I lost nearly 10 pounds this morning shoveling the heat out of my driveway. It was 104 in the shade, and 108 on the road. This is our indoor time. We go out only when we must and don’t stay out long lest we catch a fire.


A few weeks ago, I left an apple in my car. I remembered it was there around lunchtime and went out to get it. It was perfectly baked and delicious. I’ve started keeping cinnamon in the glove box since the car is also an oven. They didn’t tell me this is what they meant by hybrid.


Lantana can burn your eyes if you stare at it too long. Most things are that way these days. This is why I walk with my head down, wincing with each step over the coals of parking lots. I wonder if this will lead to heat stroke or visions.

At night we eat a pot of salad and huddle round the ice box telling lies about the time it snowed.

Chlorine Summer Days

We’ve been in triple digits most days lately. Too hot to do anything, even walk down to the neighborhood pool. Seems almost too hot to write so here’s a rerun from 2006:

Chlorine bubbles
Teenage lifeguards
Lap lanes
He can’t hold his breath that long
She swims, swims, swims
She can’t hold her breath for him
Holding hands
Holding breath
Chlorine water bubbles
Break like glass
Smiling faces break the mirror
Ten more laps
Holding breath
Holding sun
They hold each other
Only Labor Day
(so far away)
Dispels the dream
Of swimming, sun and
Water love
Chlorine swim
Sun five
Breath one
He will hold his breath for her,
Offering it like sunshine gold
From wrinkled hand
Swimming, she accepts
Breathes the breath
Of summer sun

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