Drought in the Michigan Woods

Drought in the Michigan Woods

Joggers feet used to pine needles

Scrunch dry, crispy leaves dropped

Prematurely on the path


By trees that couldn’t feed them

Anymore. Seedlings whither, shrink,

Scream silently dying in the dark.


Stunted smallmouth bass dive

Deep for cover from the sun

In the pond growing ever


More shallow. Northern Pike

Give up the ghost and float

White bellies up.


An Eastern Hognose snake

Slithers slowly across the dry,

Scorchingly hot trail in search


Of the pond. It stops, flares its

Neck like a cobra futilely trying to

Frighten intruders. Then it pleads,


“Please let me go. I have to

Get to the water or if you

Wish just stomp on my head


Fast and hard and get the

Inevitable over with.” They

Stand still and watch it go.


Feeling death all around the

Once beautiful trails, they stop again,

Gasp for air and then finish.


The dog dives in the deepest

Place to send the heat flying

And shrink his throbbing,


Swelling brain. A whistle, a wet

Dog, a walk out of the woods,

One jogger spots a snuffed out


Cigarette butt along the side of

The trail. He spews profanity

Up to the drought god sitting,


Like a genie out of the bottle,

Cross-legged on the one

Remaining bough on the top


Of the one remaining red pine

Blowing smoke rings.

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