AFTER A LONG DRY SPELL
You’re able to count the drops
at first, soft explosions in dust,
on dry grass blades like withered crops
and on nail heads, threatening rust.
Also on your head, your uncombed hair,
until they’re too many to count:
not a drop in two months and more,
then drip, then patter, now a drenching pound.
You’re naked, it’s true, but so what?
You heard a drop smack the window,
and barely awake you ran out
to stand like an unclothed scarecrow,
straw-colored, arms open wide
to receive it, rain at last, just for you.
And over there, on the east side,
your neighbor, waving, naked too.
Dawn, second-most lovely
awakening of the day, he thinks.
As he thinks the light—so lately
illuminating slopes with golds and pinks,
by ripening to its singular glow—
diminishes itself but makes its effect,
also singular, even moreso.
For now what’s lit by sun reflects
on what he reflects upon every day
at dawn, his wonder undiminished,
made more clear as any last gray
is driven out, and night is finished,
and he watches. But just to see.
Only that, and no more, considerately.
This time of year, last weeks of winter every year,
the ant known among laypersons
as the “little black ant” and among myrmecologists
as monomorium minimum marches through
the many hair-breadth fissures on the west side
of my shack and wanders the wall and the window
there in such numbers as would be alarming
to those who know not the little black ants’ behaviors,
the weird aimlessness of their meanders, and their
startling propensity, in the midst of so massive
an invasion, to vanish back into the cracks
and portals that emitted them moments before,
leaving behind only the one that has climbed
onto my notebook to engage the tip
of my red mechanical pencil in battle,
then to hoist itself astride my writing hand,
waving its tiny ant Stetson, and calling out
in the sonic range of its kind, yeehah–yahoo–yeehah.