Not quite the answer
to a thousand prayers,
for weeks of dry cold,

green grass graying
and crispy filaree
dirt-brown at a distance—

the red sky afire
startles the senses
and rattles the leaves

of sycamores flaming
before dawn’s light
along the creek, all

waiting to undress,
to bare white limbs
reaching for a hard rain.


Though still understocked from the drought, we’ve been a busy gathering this week, patching fences, feeding hay. We’d have gladly postponed this morning’s branding if yesterday’s rain had measured more and the road too slick to get up into Greasy. But the 0.11” was a pleasant change and rejuvenated the color of the surviving green, if nothing more. The bulls have been busy trading places, demolishing fences around the Gathering Field. We’ve got our fingers crossed that the cattle will be there when we and our crew of good neighbors arrive this morning.


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