Eighteen months and not so much
as a spit of rain. Dirt stains
the horizon red; tumbleweeds
line fences around scorched fields.
Day and night, the boys
tear at the sky, count
the government’s dimes. No more
hand-wringing, no more prayer—
they fly bomb balloons, dynamite kites,
shove explosives down prairie dog holes,
cannons report in heaven.
They say war makes the rain.
The engineer will happily
show his letters, austere
signatures of all the decorated
officers you please—they tell it the same—
raging battle and invariably violent rain.
The last balloon blossoms
into a globe of fire, illuminates
every object for miles—then
several dark seconds,
silent and open as the mouths of onlookers—
the inevitable crack, concussion,
birds taking flight and somehow