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.