Dry Summer

We choked on the smell of baking earth,
Kicked clouds of dust up with bare feet
Between the tufts of yellowing grass
Grown sparse and brittle in the heat;

My father knelt with practiced care,
Sweat beading on his furrowed brow,
And plucked tomatoes off the vine
Before they withered on their bow;

That summer saw no drop of rain
To wet our lips, nor sake our thirst–
No showers in the afternoon,
No after-dinner thunder burst.

So we hung back, on worn wood stoops,
Red-faced with sun, and Ice Pop stains,
And cooled ourselves with paper fans,
And prayed the rain would come again.