On the First Rain after the Drought
Chera Hammons is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College. Her work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Borderlands, Rattle, San Pedro River Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among other fine publications. Her chapbook Amaranthine Hour received the 2012 Jacar Press Chapbook Award. Her book Recycled Explosions is forthcoming from Ink Brush Press. She is a member of the editorial board of poetry journal One. She lives in Amarillo, TX, and teaches at Clarendon College.
The crops were already lost—there
was no saving cotton, corn,
or cucumber, watermelon.
When it came we were glad all
the same. I felt the loosening in
my gritty throat and sunburned shoulders.
Our aquifer was drained, the wells of our
grandfathers dry, the places north of us
would not feel it; neither the houses
(only chimneys now) melted in their thirst,
turning dark with wet under the scars
of fires they’d passed through;
but we could, the nearly-wild roses, buffalo grass,
and mourning doves.
The air smelled of spring mornings, cold toes,
and thundering sunrise dripping
from a covered patio.
I opened the door smiling like a tadpole
inviting absorption, for it to spit me out
from some bolder sky
to a ground no longer so familiar or unforgiving.