Drought Town

This is the summer of red dust. Everything
sucked dry—hollow as cicada husks, wedged
under eaves and porch stairs—waiting
for a wind change. On the road out of town,
empty grain silos loom, perched like headstones
over wheat-field graves. Harvesters sag, tyres
cracked like the asphalt. Rotting carcasses
litter riverless beds—tongues swollen,
flyblown, unslaked. First, a wheeze,
then my pickup spews steam. It dies in a ditch
under a burnt-orange sun. Tiger snake chunks
graffiti the hood’s underside, one blind eye bulging
from the torn head. It must have sought shade
or wiper water—sliding up from the parched earth
miles back. Now it’s just one more dead thing
in a land of dead things. This is the summer
of red dust. It swirls and the road ahead blurs.

Ryan Stone writes after midnight in Melbourne, Australia. He lives beside Sherbrooke Forest with his wife, two young sons, a German shepherd, and a Ragdoll cat. On daily walks through his woodland surrounds, he often falls down rabbit holes.

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3 Responses to Drought Town

  1. Reblogged this on Sarah Russell Poetry and commented:
    Ryan Stone paints a bleak picture of drought in this outstanding poem.

  2. Pingback: Drought Town | days of stone

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