Leftovers Again?!

The late November snow,
its gesso spread confidently,
had designs on December,
to make it out past Black Friday
or even Cyber Monday.
But this year rains came
and picked it away
like my brothers would
a leftover turkey carcass.
The crows didn’t mind that at all,
noted pickers that they are,
and in fact reveled
in those muddy wounds upon
the momentarily forgotten grass.
The cars wear their patinas
of salty schmutz, a pasty
dry-rub instead of a brining,
as their drivers sit in jams
with tired eyes, like they’ve
shopped all night on that old
information superhighway.
But what’s that I see
upon my windshield fallen?
A white crystal unlike
its next and next and next,
each a unique hex and hex and hex.
And so it is, the snow’s returned,
nature like a cook with no plan.
The forecaster never saw it coming,
in fact this crap weather he spurned,
a turkey basted in climate change.
Oh, man!

Under the Frayed Edge of November

The sky grew darker, as if
someone was closing the box on today,
the clouds so gray and cold
you shiver just looking at them
from the window. But that’s how we live,
here on the cusp of December.
Winter’s not quite a month away,
says the calendar. But those of us
who have shaken off the chill,
as well as old November snows,
look at the sky and think the year’s
only as old as it feels.

Today it felt pretty old.

The howling wind blew the slate
cumulo-strato-numb-makers eastward.
And blue, that icy blue that leaves
a halo around the sun before
giving way to the blackness that
canonizes the moon, surrounded
the shreds of steel-wool clouds,
that inevitably cover the sky
like a ragged comforter that’s
put in the inky blanket chest
until next the box opens on a today
so warm.

Photo © 2014 Joseph Hesch

Getting Out of the Rain

The rain will be upon me soon
and I can’t escape it.
I’d hoped to beat it to the punch,
get some work done outside
before outside forces me
back in, but I just can’t
keep pace anymore.
Not even with rain clouds
slowly oozing toward me,
a grayer gray growing
in the southwest sky,
a greener green filling
the lower left of the TV screen.
I’ve found you just can’t
outrun rain, not if you’re
in its path, and sometimes shelter
means more than an umbrella
and dissociating oneself
from soggy reality.
I was just talking about rain,

Waiting for a Line to Fall

Storm-torn (Photo by Joseph Hesch © 2016)

(Photo by Joseph Hesch © 2016)

Looking at the wind,
watching it tear summer
from the trees before autumn
may gently pluck them.
I can’t hear it from my window,
only imagine its voice, something
between the ocean’s roar
and the highway’s song.
I’d prefer to think it some
ballet score by Copland,
as the trees dance to it en corps.
Or maybe it would be Lightfoot,
waiting like me for a line
to fall, telling me it was all
a big mistake, because sometimes
words need to be torn from us,
even in our autumns.
I know I’d feel the same
looking at the rain.

A bit of a warmup poem before moving onto today’s story. Decided to take the fifth line from one of my favorite songs and use it as the first line of my poem. The song that came to mind was an old “favourite” from Canadian singer/songwriter legend Gordon Lightfoot, Looking at the Rain. Imagination and creative heartbeats took it from there


The north wind leans against the pines,
shouldering them away from
the snow squalls while it shoves me
back inside, hiding from
the 25 minuses it pushes, too.
It’s the inevitable of winter
here in the upper right corner
of your screen.

Sun swears it’s the same
that cozies the bottom margin
of the Land of the Free, but that’s
just more election-year politicking.
“You can trust me
for all your warming needs,” he promises.

It’s so cold, even windblown weeds
shiver, some of their leaves jumping off
and heading south, where folks say
the plusses outweigh these minuses.
I don’t think I could live with myself,
though, where the natives wear parkas
when it’s 50.

Satan’s Supper

Corn crop

On the hundred-twentieth day of the drought — I know this because I kept X’ing them off on Mama’s 1892 Sears-Roebuck calendar — I watched big old storm clouds stack up against the distant mountains and heard my Pa say, “Shit, we’re in fer it now.”

“Whatcha mean, Pa…don’t ya think those rain clouds are coming our way?” I said full of a wide-eyed ten-year-old’s belief in miracles.

Pa worked up some juice in his mouth and spit it into the dust that barely held up the dead-dry and stunted corn stalks stretching like pale corduroy toward an east Colorado sunset that turned those hope-filled clouds a right royal purple.

“Son,” Pa said, kneeling down and taking me by the shoulders, “Theys that tell ya ‘Where there’s smoke there’s fire,’ never seen clouds like those, what’ll not bring us rain, but prob’ly Satan’s own hunger.”

I thought better of asking Pa what he meant again, but found out that night when those heaven-sent clouds of mine passed over our place, dropping not rain but lightning on our fields, burning my innocence as black as that quarter of our crop ol’ Satan ate for supper.

This week’s Five Sentence Fiction is based on Lillie McFerrin’s prompt word: Rain.

Heat Wave


Record High Temperature

Record High Temperature (Photo credit: NickWarzy)

All day, for six straight steaming sun-ups
and a half-dozen retina-searing sundowns,
the people who bemoaned their frigid snowy winter
wipe their wet cheeks over the heat this July week.
Their faces shine in the dawn light these mornings,
when 9s are hung in the wide-screen, surround-sound
public square and the talking hairdo town crier
warns of the approach of certain writhing death
for those who do not sufficiently hydrate.
My dog knows this.

I would hear the bump-whir of the air conditioning
kicking in again, but the hi-def Hark the Herald of doom
puts on her drama mask and serious tone megaphone
to relate how tempers sparked in street-length saunas
have claimed four lives overnight. Janus-like,
she flips her mien, and then her mane, smiles wide
and tells me we’re going to see how the penguins
at the Sea-quarium handle this heat wave.
But first these words…