On Drought

In the tired miles outside the city
wooden hearts mold over. For every farm, a shack
undressed, panels split
since homesteading. When the clouds failed to bear

clouds, the dust took flight
untamed. Six years, The Bowl
tipped over. Somehow the spill
lasted that long.
Maybe the prairie, unlike other lands, cannot give
up its thirst: not the crumbling
Sandhills, not the windmill,
not the riverbeds that laze across the fields
in search of former and far-gone storms.
The once-was
held here could be a legacy, a type of
heirloom suffering—would the next
generation of grasses recall the newborn clouds?
How they all burned off in the span
it took an ash tree’s last leaf to drift
to the earth? Not the want
for rainfall, but the water’s closeness,
mist or sand; both sate
the dry-tongue plea: accept
the labor, and like the fractured mud eased loose
come dusk, yield your rhythm
to locust-trill. To rest.

Maison Horton is an emerging poet and recent graduate of the Writer's Workshop at the University of Nebraska Omaha. His work is also forthcoming in Puerto del Sol's Black Voices Series. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska.