By Cathy Colman
“There is no snow pack. Only one year of water left.”—Governor of California, Jerry Brown
Sometimes the earth tells and retells her story.
Throws figurines, makes the doors stutter,
weathered wood flies apart like toothpicks.
We are not listening. We live on behalf of strangers.
We live on the surface. It’s the only place.
I can see grooves
from the water’s former sluice, from the riot where
the meadow confessed its obsession for red. Somewhere,
there are bright, unread pages of water waiting, but here
earth is speechless. Even neon ziggurats
left over from the Age of Glitter can barely twink out their morse.
Lower in the strata, the radiant ribcage lies
exposed. Its X and Y. It’s what we have in common.
The leaves tick in the grate. You could mistake that
for rain. But the land isn’t stupid. We are stupid.
Stupid with our own smashed messages making up a life.
Only she knows how long it takes.
We can no longer save our money for a rainy day.
This year, jacarandas bloomed a whole month early.
They need to sleep to survive. Not awaken in the middle
of winter with a hot flash.
I need to sleep to survive.
To survive is to sleep no more. Quickened with thirst.
Sometimes, we think it’s about sacrifice.
Sometimes, we think it’s about power.
Just like we think we can call a halt
to the still-effigy wars
which we believe are always ending.
Yet, in the arpeggio dark
we feel lightning in our bones, hear a kind of thunder
on the road, the sheets are damp.
In the morning we find mash notes that read Yours,
until we harm each other again.