Summer heat creates puddles that aren't there.
Now you see them, now you don't.
In my childhood I would run
Barefoot through the shimmers
Looking wet and cool at a distance
But blistering feet as I slapped down
Bare plantar pads on the bone-dry griddle of sidewalk –
It's some kind of magic, that I was sure of.
I thought of it as a mirage – an illusion of need –
Very close to wishful thinking
When I wanted to find true moisture
In that dry Texas Panhandle
(Semi-arid I heard 'em call it,
But I didn't find anything semi about it.)
I watched for where the gnats were swarming.
And close there abouts I'd find some mud,
Dig into it with my toes,
Thrill in the thick ooze,
Chill in the cool primordial goo,
Only the swatting away of midges
Detracted from the pleasure.
written March 2011, published in "Houston Poetry Fest 2011 Anthology"