Rushes sway their frayed spikes
they reach for the sun tempting fire
shamed by drought.

Cottonwoods and willows
rattle parched branches
like spectators waiting
for the dance to begin,

The river remembers the summer’s dance
of wind and water, playful banter
timid and twinkling,
when they flirted atop
the sun-kissed current.

Puddles of sledge suffocate,
the dance now a slow waltz
the rivers flow
a funeral dirge
mourning the lost rain.


Sandy Sortwell Makau is a freelance writer. Her nonfiction feature articles and essays are published by The New York Times Syndicate, Frommer’s Budget Travel and North State Parent Magazine. Her poetry is in Multicultural Echoes, New Verse News and her poem ‘Ode to Teeth Brushing’ was aired on NPR.