It didn't rain.
And it didn't rain.
And it didn't rain.

Returning, after a month away,
from a place up north,
the yard was parched and dying,
the horse coiled like a snake

As if the present were past,
I walk from this thing to that,
touching dry leaves.
Here is the dogwood
that bloomed when T. was dying.
Here is the sunflower, ravaged by July,
and here is the Rose of Sharon,
coming, in August, into its own.
Here. Here. And here.
The arbor. The wisteria.
The bamboo, tenacious as ever.
The empty swing, motionless in the heat.

I unwind the coiled hose
and turn the water on,
watching it stream into the ground.
Everything is a mouth,
thirsty and unappeasable.

With each step, I move farther
into the future, wondering,
How will I ever leave all this?
How? How does one ever leave?
I am the water-bearer.
I cannot die!

This poem originally ran in the May 5, 2003 issue of the magazine.