Arizona’s blazing blue skies rarely
change until July or August, when dust
storms tear through, as if to taunt the afternoon
thunderheads. The weatherman finally
has something to talk about. Talk he does,
eyes sparking, hands gesticulating, grin-
ningly trying to predict the first monsoon.
Lightning storms come too; no rain hits the
arid earth. It falls, but evaporates
before it lands. The animals know first,
when rain will finally come. They batten down
and wait, and know (better than the people
sometimes) not to go into the washes.
Soon the storm begins, pelting drops so large
one is soaked in seconds. So rare is the
rain, so welcome, the warm water feels like
a benediction. It passes quickly.
The scent, a delicate earthy perfume.
The winds and water leave a changed desert,
a waterscape with broken branches, leaves
scattered, flattened flowers. Muddy water
scrambles through the gullies and someone’s car
is stuck again.