April

by Sayeeda T Ahmad

The perfect time to hike the trails of the Bandarbans,
“dam of monkeys” in Bangla.
Be wary of capped leaf monkeys, and capped langur,
as you clamber up the grassy peaks of Keokaradong and Saka Haphong.
Goat on nimble feet,
thickset branch clasped in one hand,
instinct in the fingertips of the other.
You must know to skip past the rotting leaves,
hiding python or king cobra princelings beneath,
on your way down to Sangu River, and back on the trail.
Thin spirals of smoke linger in the air as the jhum chaash goes on,
slash and burn, slash and burn.
Better to hike now, climb now in the dryness,
than let the monsoon mudslide kill you next season.

Sand Harbor, Nevada

by Stefanie Bennett

When nobody’s shore-
Watching
The unspoken
Stones
Wing it
And sing...

Sangres Morning

by Maury Grimm

Sun, curling up from the Sangres, the red blood of morning

Gray Hope

by Tricia Knoll

I fold back our bed sheets this morning
to match the rolls of cloud billows
sliding like pillows into the naked hot sky.

My feet slip to the tuck at the mattress
to test the cool slickness that may be rain
on a horizon of gray hope

this drought might end.

A Golden Thread

by Julie Ramon

Only the people that live on the outskirts
of town, down long roads littered with
shadows and cows understand when you’re
mid-recipe and need an egg, you can’t leave
to buy one. Instead, you walk through fields
and listen to the sound of drought crunch and notice
the way grasshoppers lead the way. And, neighbors
know the squeak of their gate opening at the end
of the drive. They meet you half way and ask
what you’re making, and you return home
egg in fist, following the step you made before,
the parts through grass. You, the thread
that weaves from one place to another
always headed home to finish what you started.

'through the open temple door'

by Stephen A. Rozwenc

through the open temple door
a jade Buddha glints
like an emerald jelly fish
swimming the ocean
of benign munificence

the intrepid rapscallion
peers down
down down
all the way down
to where foolish attachment
lets go
of its chattering monkey self

Lines

by Ali Znaidi

desert sun…
even scorpions
chase the mirage

Curve Wind

by Joe Hess

The devil’s latest commitment
to global warning is a strange ocean
concoction with a cocktail

umbrella the size of Texas
growing in the Pacific. It’s been
pretty impolite to suggest the devil

is anything but a sweet and sexy
taboo artist, ever since
Rita Hayworth first suggested

in the forties to: “Put the Blame
on Mame,” as she peeled one
white, satin glove down her arm.

Now mother nature pays
for our seductive game of chicken
with the Mr. Big—in blood

as his final event horizon creeps
like a curving zephyr
through our half-tapped

wilderness, touched irrevocably,
profanely naked, and all
the sacred veils are falling away.

Doppler Farms

by Todd Mercer

They dance to make rain, seed clouds with silver iodide. They pray
over cracks in the field, summon up a freelance climatologist,
but saturated air won’t condense to drops to save the crops. The loan looms
like a scythe overhanging the end of October. They skirt the sharp edge of it,
kick up dust that was topsoil. Before. Water—they pack it by buckets
from the well-head to mist the crop rows. The brute labor,
his and hers, passes days quickly, but the drought holds on.
The green-screened TV rain-man lacks answers. He’s primed
to evaporate, dissolve into the atmosphere, where farmers
can’t find him. Like them he’s losing precious sweat
at the mercy of the Fates, the Guy Upstairs,
and the Southern Oscillation.

Succession

by Laurinda Lind

Two hours south, it is not as dry and the grass
in the median of the interstate is actually green
or something like it. It is the same in the overflow
parking lot next to the funeral home, chlorophyll
coming through and even water scattering from
the sky and across the windshield. But behind
the back walk between the lot and the building,
the Little Salmon River has turned into a mud
meander with a pond at one end where every
thing alive in there must have come to coexist
in the same way we who just parked are about
to be alive together in a room with a dead cousin.

Afternoon with Closed Windows

by Olga Moskvina

Today the house burned down with me in it.
The smoke smelled like incense or something
far away, and I went back to sleep,
though it was afternoon and avocados
were rotting idly on the counter,
while fans turned like skeletal sunflowers
toward bottles of warm beer.

Were those the objects I was secretly waiting for,
trying to close suitcase after suitcase
to protect myself from them? The past tense
with avocados comes naturally,
and I no longer need to open windows
that are no longer there.

Drink the Ramen

by David Lohrey

It rains every day but there is no water.

In Chitose-Funabashi, the puddles are fine and the river runs wide,
But showers are on timers.

Take the wrappers off the bottles, keep the lettuce in the larder,
The neighbors eye our bin.

This summer, lightning strikes harder but the rains lose heart.

Locals don’t taste the noodles, the flavor’s in the broth.

It rains every day but there is no water.

A Dry Country

by David Chorlton

The vultures claim their portion of the sky
each day, and surrender it
with grace when the pines on the mountain
draw light through their roots
and a glow
spreads from inside.
You can see them from the porch
of an old house, built before convenience
when the miners arrived thirsty
and left without finding
what they came for. The roads
they used have outlived them,
still winding up and around
to where a shaft begins
its descent into darkness, still turning
to the dust a truck kicks out
on a day when the light is so dry
you can peel it away from the suede
colored slopes and watch
Whitetail Canyon erode.

Dryness acrostic middle

by Clinton Siegle

I am the dry years turned to beauty
dried plants turned ashes of grass and trees to desert beauty
rain not forthcoming waterlessness area's deserted beauty
yearly no rains creating the areas to beauty
non open clouds draining plant's beauty
ever forever a parched beauty
season of a dryness beauty
season of whether desert beauty.
Never changing beauty.

Arrival & Ascent of Autumn Immigrants

by Terrence Sykes

I am an immigrant
I am not from here
I don't own this piece of land
This small piece of Quartz
Grasped from the sandy soil
Taken in my hand
From beneath this canopy of
These PawPaw trees
These were not here
When I discovered & claimed
This as my own solitude
This enclaved fifty acres or more
Have kept my sanity from urban chaos
Who or What brought the first seed for
This clonal gathering must be content
A late frost prevented progenies
That pungent aroma of fallen ripened
Fruit upon the forest floor

Those silent shiso plants
Seeding again to scatter ascendants
Remind me of the Korean women who
Were at odds with me when gathering
Wild greens that grew
Upon the banks of this creek
Bitter greens of their own where rooted
Flourished in the swamp
Waxed then waned
Like a lunar eclipse
Their departure
Before the arrival of this shiso
Reluctantly then revealing
Established itself amongst
Others unlike themselves

These touch-me-nots
They too were not here when I came
Gems of orange fleck with gold
Emigrate me home
Remembrance of my hometown
Memories of my grandmother
I always think of her
A rose herself
Her garden of
Irises
Hydrangeas

Amongst flora & fauna
Here I have seen women
From all over the world
From where and when
In their native garments
Colorful & brilliant
As autumnal flowers
Today I walk alone
Along these paths
Who will  scatter the next seed
I am not from here
I am an immigrant

Reflections

by Ginny Short

Uncertainty riding west
The sky clear
The ridge         the south side of lightning
Find and gather self    before noon

Red earth rocks branding the intersection
Of sun, sky and earth  Time moves slowly
Forgotten

Long wet trails up Wolf Creek Canyon
An eternity      Urging the distance

The Old Gods

by Ed Hack

The old gods of the fields, of wheat and corn,
of rye, of vegetables, are dying back
into the earth. The autumn's silver horn
of knife-edge light rings out the time of lack,
of ice as pitiless as life can be,
of frozen ground entombing old spent earth
that sleeps exhausted as the naked trees
that wait, like ice-bound earth, for their spring birth.
The shriveled tassels of the corn are brown
and limp, tied to the bridge to celebrate
the harvesting of Time. The river sounds
like all that crashes to its end to sate
the hungers of its life. A rush. A roar.
And then an evening as it spreads out
and leaves the falls behind. Now less is more
as water calms, a mind without a doubt.
The old gods do not say a thing. They wait.
They know that Time's another word for Fate.

Aleppo

by Laughing Waters

temperature
suddenly drops
red camelia's flowers
covering ground
fresh snow

Droughtland Smoothie

by Elizabeth Kuelbs

Beat sun up. Blend 2 cups fresh
ash, 1 billow smoke, 1/4 manzanita
bone, 1 heat-scarred flight feather, hawk
or owl, 2 tablespoons doomy noon
twilight, 1 chlorinated
bee, ice.

Drink.

Hairline to navel (ignore sunburn tenderness) unzip skin.

Wait
for lush tumble
of mist, of river, of willow, wait
for singing oak canopy, for poppy, for mallow, for
coyote mint. Wait in the dark
for rain.

The Mutts of Dhaka are Survivors

by Sayeeda T Ahmad

These mutts lap up spilled tea or snack crumbles on the footpath,
curl up in a spot of sun near a streetside tong,
till the tong owner kicks them away
for disturbing his customers.
These mutts trot down every alley and road they know,
next to and through piles of rotting refuse,
till nearly or fully run over by careless chauffeurs,
driving their owners’ to the next NGO meeting.
These mutts scramble under empty pull carts in the rain,
till chased away by goons or street kids
intent on cutting off their tails for kicks.
Just another nonentity, infested with fleas and welts.
Just another beggar with no bowl.
Just another carcass among the millions.

Expressionism

by Sneha Subramanian Kanta

how you eat the fallen figs
your body full of soil scents –
arm clutched to my side,
bare bodies of autumn’s pride.

your fingers, opening a map –
nail pointing eastward
moving subtly, then all at once
over the body of the large Pacific.

how your mouth, partly open
devours my mouth, in exploration –
then, like ancient forest-dwellers
sing ourselves to sleep, meditating.

how chants, escape your tongue,
lick my senses into molten clay –
how, in a world of immigrants,
we find – a land unknown, to stay.