We waited through dry and dusty years
and prayed the only way we knew—
like tithing, throwing hard-bought hay
to the gods on the ground everyday.
Our muttered mantra clunked along
like an old machine, inhaling pauses,
exhaling groans until it came to turn
the earth around with a covering
of iridescent green, teasing the dead
and dying oak trees—like us or like
the cows we raised and had to sell—
with rain and one more promise.
New life lands on the open beam
that holds the roof and sings
in the sudden rain—a black and gold
Oriole on the edge of its Southwest
range—a happy song delivered quickly.
A sign in this downpour, an omen
I am to remember when season’s over
and the grass turns blond and brittle—or
just a promise of weather never normal.