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DAHLIAS IN TIME OF DROUGHT

Too hot for sleep or chasing fireflies,
I sit with my father on the backporch swing.
We watch the next-door couple emerge

like ghostly moths from under a mimosa tree.
He wears a white shirt and pants;
she a housecoat, a towel around her hair.

They have come out after dark to water
the dahlias, which bow their moon-like selves
and lean, like mendicants, on stakes.

I want to know will they go to jail
but my father whispers not unless we tell.
I wish I could stay right here

on the porch, my father tickling my back,
my fingers curled in the hair on his arm,
the sound of forbidden water cooling the yard.



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