Rain comes to the man in the field, steady
rain that soaks his shirt. He makes himself
alone a few paces from his tractor, takes
off his hat, lifts his face to the clouds.
The woman runs from the house to drag
clothes off the line, but having done it
she stands outside the back door, her arms
full of wilting sheets, and breathes again–full
deep breaths for the first time in ten years.
Children bind sticks together for a raft
to float in the gutter. Laughing, they follow
it downhill to a small dam of sopping weeds
and silt, catch it and bring it back to sail again.
Their feet brown and wet, they come home,
bringing small rocks shining with new colors
to make a row on the window sill.
The desert drinks herself to returning life. Red
clay darkens, gleams, and softens. Roads crack
and break away. Washes widen. The heart
of the mountain draws water to deep shale where
coolness pools and oozes toward the seeps.
Seeds, the wind has stirred with sand through
circles of time, soften and sprout. The desert
blooms and rejoices against her own identity.
Our prayers are answered, blessings open
the pores of our skin. Our hair looses its
crispness. Our shoulders loose their tension.
Roses bloom against the eastern wall.
Rain fills our rain gutters, swamps our sewer,
and floods the lower garden. The house floats
heavily now on an underground river. We feel
no movement, but we are forced to bale water
or abandon ship. We live to a new pulse;
the sump pump throbs water out of the basement.
We carry books and boxes upstairs, pull up
the carpet, and set the beds on blocks. Children
sleep wrapped in blankets on the living room floor.
One day the sun will burn again, the water drain,
the wind fill up with dust. The desert will come
to her own. Until that day, our house rides
the jubilee current. We stay with it.
To read another of Sandra’s Spring Runoff entries and her bio, go here.