the rain will return
no matter the full sponge of soil
the coursing rivers unchecked.
No matter the hills slipping, stripping
trees, rocks, mud with an appetite for flesh.
No one will know the words
to turn it off.
This much again:
dry winds will scour the plains
suck life from roots
no matter the choking heat, the flames
licking dry needles from trees
no matter the hollow eyes of hunger.
Dry lakes no shelter, skies a blue hell.
No one will know the word
Flood and Fire,
the whirlwind exploding,
hurling houses like sticks, no matter
the empty promise, the blasted crops
strewn in splinters. No matter
the broken school rooms, black smoke
of industry bereft of meaning.
There will be no words.
Hugh Anderson is a Vancouver Islander. He has lived long enough to have been, among other things, a bus driver, an actor and a teacher. His poems have appeared most recently in Columbia Journal Online, Ottawa Arts Review, Right Hand Pointing, The Quilliad, 3 Elements Review and Grain. He has one recent Pushcart Prize nomination.