It starts with a single languid drop,
beating a hardpan drum.
Cicadas warble a scorched-earth vibrato,
rushing skyward, the long-dry undone.
Rusty tears trickle their bullnose percussion
on verandah iron and brass. While the red dusts
of torment yawn and drink deeply,
thirsty as fire-kissed grass.
My hard-bitten mongrels, in Waratah shade,
flick ears laid unseasonably low.
Drought threatens to claim what Tigers have not.
Limp tails tell tales of woe.
Resembling slender men, brown withered stems
raise limp hands, tattered and burned.
A chorus begins, Magpie trills and woodwind;
life to the outback returned.
Movement staccatos; even dragonflies pause
from their wild tumbles and dips.
A long-absent lover, in the final refrain,
bestows a moist kiss on parched lips.
by Ryan Stone
* Tigers -> the venomous Australian Tiger Snake
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First published in Of Words and Water 2014