Three digit heat waves
Everything is thirsty
Despair in the farmers dry Kansas thought
The privileged hide in their refrigerated buildings
Cursing the energy companies
The pioneers survived
No AC or DC
The shade provides a slight echo of coolness
As we chug ice water
— Barry Barnes
A cicada sounds off like the echo of a train; the Doppler Effect.
Reminding me of convective storms
towering castles with slow-mo’ construction.
This all echoes through Kansas and summer (echoes through me)
The western sky sparks and the countryside ponds react
so we too must spark and react
like the flash of a cicada echoing Doppler
as I sit daydreaming in the oven of Kansas to
thoughts of a new season over the calendars hill
I say out loud, alone, “This heat sucks. So much.”
— Larry Fleury
“Ogallala!” a cartoon fox dressed as Robin Hood says,
sniffs end blossom rot,
nips a tomato, and then digs
a burrow; a barrow, connected to echo chamber;
the babble of a sipped spring.
“It’s like Monsanto drinking a milkshake, turning Hoover on the dregs;
cheeks convex, concave, and then red.” “
He hums a lament for Crimson Sweet,
Kansas muskmelon, Arkansas Traveler, Brandywine, Red Zebra;
dairy cows spiked with Posilac; the turn from heirloom to perpetual heat.
— Ben Cartwright
Darkness in Kansas never falls
it glides from east to west
leaving me grilling steaks
under the cottonwood in the
pink-purple twilight, wind chimes
playing a soft tune as my
hoot owl searches for supper
while the Azember boys combine
the wheat field to the west covering
my truck with the light gold dust of another harvest
— Adam Jameson
water gone underground gone
in the month of all fires out
white dog tracking stars clear bright
nine of thirteen moons
since first ice fuzz of frost
arbored busk pots steep
coons possums pets birds
drink at dripping saucepan waters
from same clay slipping
sons mothers daughters
— Phil Morgan
We dig into the clay
with a hope that is almost fear of finding
what we know to be impossible.
Kansas knows what water is. It too knows
how to burn, how to evaporate
what we think we know,
what we think we are,
where we think we come from.
We may call for more hands, but not even
archaeologists can tell what we may find.
Above, an owl blanketed in wheat feathers, eyes
like planets. The sky is a landscape, the field a vision
of call and response. Turning, turning. There is a you
and there is another you: holding clay hands, blinking
clay-smeared eyes. Cracking in the heat. One of you
runs to the firehouse. The other licks the burn.
Everywhere, these eyes. Everywhere, collision. Song.
We hunt for twins. Bones. Wind. To our clay ears,
our clay eyes, the owl almost sounds like a mother,
and the night blinks back in time. Everywhere, fire.