© 2017 by AE Hines.  All Rights Reserved.  

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DROUGHT

We stop and reflect on our memories of rain.   

How it fell onto greening fields,

how it slipped beneath the earth’s crusty

surfaces, and slithered home to the rivers, 

back when there were rivers, 

how, wide and frothy, they ran thick

with Coho and Chinook.

How from the ocean, from the acrid depths 

they leapt, as if they were our birthright,

onto our gleaming plates,

how we stabbed them with steely forks, 

and steamed our foggy mirror atmosphere 

with insatiable hunger.

How we waved off all the warnings —

in the end, a fish would need feet 

just to make it up a river, 

until the rivers became streams

and the streams just a trickle 

that ran across the dry ground the way sweat 

runs down the back, as if the earth 

were a woman, peeling off layers

and hot-flashing her way

past late middle-age.

 — AE Hines

Originally published in I-70 Review, Eleventh Edition, Summer/Fall 2017.

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