I’ve pulled up the mint by the roots
that was crowding the iris. I’ve pulled
up the oregano down to its roots, the oregano
that crowds the iris, the chives,
and the lily. The basement has water
in places I’ve rarely seen, rivulets
blown by high-powered fans. The sump
at least is working, dehumidifier
filling, too. Did you know the shop vac spits
like a squirt gun when near full?
The dog’s paws are wet when we come into the house.
The back stairs are dirty and damp with our mess.
The oregano and the mint are littering the yard.
In Texas hill country, in Oklahoma, too,
the creeks are overflowed, the lake past
its spillway, fourth time in this history.
They say the scent of grass or mint
when cut or pulled is screaming, is warning
the other grass and mints nearby. The air
is full of mint. The air is full of oregano.
The basement is full of water, and the
damp will sound its destruction in dank
and rot and gathering molds until
we suffer the heat and the stink and wilt
of the evercoming unbelievable summer.
~ Laura Lee Washburn
Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review. Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.
August Co-Editor and Past Poet Laureate of Kansas (2017-2019) Kevin Rabas teaches at Emporia State University, where he leads the poetry and playwriting tracks and chairs the Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism. He has twelve books, including Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner. He is the recipient of the Emporia State President’s and Liberal Arts & Sciences Awards for Research and Creativity, and he is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award for Poetry.
August Co-Editor Linzi Garcia can be found frolicking through fields, cemeteries, and bars across the states, gathering poetry along the way. She recently received her MA in English at Emporia State University, where she served as the assistant to Former Poet Laureate of Kansas Kevin Rabas and to Bluestem Press. Her first poetry collection, Thank You was published by Spartan Press (2018), and her co-written chapbook Live a Great Story was published by Analog Submission Press (2019). She is always looking to invest time in new places where she can absorb new perspectives.