16 July 2009


The grass had gone all yellow. There my mother
watering can in hand tended to her roses
while we all sat outside, that hottest of all summers
in July 1990. My grandfather
held in his hands a copy of the Telegraph.

"When ever will this drought end" whinged my mother
conversationally, and added "it will kill all my flowers"

"Drought? Drought?" said Grandad
"What do you know about droughts?"

We felt a story coming, the war and all that, Monty
and the Eight Army and his years of service.
"A drought is when you find dead livestock
on the side of the road; When you open a tap
and it coughs up some dust with hissing sound"

"A drought is when you have to cut a reed
and suck water out of a shithole
in the dry river bed"

He went back to his paper. Mother summoned me and sent me
inside with the can: "Go and fetch some more water,
be a darling" she said. We were sitting outside.
It was such a hot summer.

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