Determined, the creek runs steady yet without rain,
last season leaking through cracks of granite joined,
braided currents turning small bellies up to flash and flare
in the mottled sunlight—passing clouds, dry storms.

It streams a canyon of skeletons, barkless half-trunks
corralled by windrows of fallen limbs, oak trees
crumbling, to deliver its addled chants, mumbled news
to thirsty orchard rows of certain death upstream.

West slopes wear last year’s feed, palomino tufts
dappled with strongminded green graying daily,
deep-rooted seed of filaree, its crimson leaves
turn purple before baring the crisp color of dirt.

Like the trees and grasses, we may melt down
to dust, be blown away to stick in wetter places.
But like good dogs sure, we pray for a change
in the weather—if it hasn’t already, for the worse.


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