ON THEIR LAND
He runs a hand across the flattest, hardest square foot of his land. It's alive at least. His wife watches him from the knee-dirt of her garden. Next time, his fingers rub across those leather cheeks, he'll plant no seed, expect no crop, no harvest. Likewise, her eyes will grow no roses in his wrinkled brow. His is a stolid, clay-pan face, not worth fertilizing. Work sunup to sundown, rape the hands raw, break the back, just so they can eat in silence, sleep in separate beds. It's a tough life, an even tougher compromise
KATHLEEN REMEMBERS THE FLOOD
She speaks of the time when the dam cracked and a once passive river came down from the hills roaring. Water overflowed the banks, flooded the memorial park, crossed street after street right up to her family's doorstep. It stayed there for a week like an unwanted relative ringing the bell over and over though they'd no intention of letting it in. The town was smothered in mud, and dead trees, and horse flies she swears were as big as the equine that gave them their name. Eventually, the flood receded but it didn't restore what had been there before. Not with the heat moving in. And the silt as foul-smelling as corpses. She says that three people died but many more lost everything, And so many animals were drowned. And crops. And gardens. The townsfolk spent the entire summer cleaning up both outside and in. A few just gave up and left for good. The rest agreed that life would never be the same. Some politician said that steps were being taken to make sure it would never happen again. He was referring to the dam of course. But folks took him to mean the town they knew.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and the Round Table. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon.