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January 2017, vol 12 no 4

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Glenn G. Coats

Love in a Dry Season

Weeks of heat and humidity. No precipitation. Hills are brown and parched. It is hot while I toss and turn through the night, hot when I step out the door in the morning. No relief. My wife shakes her blouse so it billows like a sail but that doesn’t help. She plays games with the baby on the basement floor where it remains cool like a cave.

Clouds begin to stack up on Sunday morning and by noon it looks dark outside. Thunder rumbles and rain falls hard all afternoon. Temperature drops. In the evening, we step out on the deck. Drain pipes drip in unison and puddles shine everywhere. The little girl takes a cup, brushes water from the glass table and fills it up. She pours it along the dog’s back and down her ears. The dog doesn’t mind. Then the baby scoops more water and sprinkles our feet. She gathers water until it is too dark and night settles in—cool and deep as a river.

in the flutter of a short life swallowtails

Note: Title taken from the novel by Shelby Foote.