last year there were seldom rains
white petals covered my front path
falling from fruitless pear trees
by the occasional wind
and an infrequent sprinkling
pushed out by the pressing leaves
birthing from the new branches
to hold the nest of the migrants
and the red foxtail squirrels
mating in the springtime heat

today the storms violently
tore those petals from the stems
the flowered ground washed away
rivers of floating white clouds
swallowed by the corner drains
nothing for the searching bees
nothing for the hummingbirds
to fuel their rapid winged flights
only the squirrels climbing
to avoid the heavy winds

the parched land quenches its thirst
returning the ancient lake
swallowing homes and farmland
drained wetlands now replenished
centuries old underground
reservoirs of spring waters
absent for too many years
the land once dropped to the earth
the aquifers filling with excess
the earth reclaims her bounty

greed of the growing careless
the absent investors with
three pieces and iron creases
taking water once protected
by the nation of Yokuts
the lake they named Pa-ah-su
the forgotten valley tribes’
shamans seeking their wisdom
in forgotten sweat lodges
now awakened to earth’s plea

--Charles H., Adult