Even A Short Drought Lasts Too Long

by Lucy Griffith

Photography by Nicole Moore

~For Clegg Fowlkes

I’ve studied water― riveted by rain, stalked each drainage,

found ways to capture every drop, waste not. Fifty gallons

of dew some mornings, run off each roof to a cistern. Berms

below each bluff point to a pond. On the windmills, each year

I grease the bearings, the leathers when they crack, change the

10-weight oil in the gears. I plug every leak, route wash-water

to my garden. Still, drought’s a bastard. Ribcages of catfish sneer

at me from the crazed clay of each dry tank. One day I ask

the boss what she did those seven years it never rained in the 50’s.

We didn’t owe the bank, so we butchered and froze two cows,

sold the rest. Sold all but one good horse. Kept one milk goat.

Then― we waited.

Happiest on a tractor named Mabel (a muse of 55 horsepower) Lucy Griffith lives on a ranch beside the Guadalupe River near Comfort, Texas. Her first collection of poems We Make a Tiny Herd was published by Main Street Rag as a finalist in their poetry book contest. Tiny Herd was awarded the Wrangler Prize for Poetry as well as the Willa Literary Award for Poetry. She has been a Returning Contributor Scholar in Poetry for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.