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in the normal course of abnormal events
we can’t stop helping each other
the last of the water
gone to the neighbor’s daughter
I give her an hour
two at most

and when she’s free
as sunlight is free
of the glare of sand
we’ll face our own freedom

the camels and goats
grown thin and frail
will soon stop producing
their weak milk
the malformed figs taste of sand
the dunes move
each day we shift our camp of people
thrown together by these events

we had heard
of the many ways a world
can end

the sky remains its painful blue
the cold stars seem bitter
are we to eat sand?
drink the wind?

those few of us that recall
the sound of thunder
the power of rains
sound like liars to the young.

Joanne Merriam is the publisher at Upper Rubber Boot Books. She is a new American living in Nashville, having immigrated from Nova Scotia. She most recently edited Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good, and her own poetry has appeared in dozens of places including Asimov's, The Fiddlehead, Grain, and previously in Strange Horizons.
Roger Dutcher lives in Wisconsin, where he enjoys jazz, wine, and poetry. His poetry has appeared in Asimov's, Modern Haiku, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He is the co-founder, and editor, of The Magazine of Speculative Poetry. He was awarded a Rhysling from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA).
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19 Feb 2024

That was Father—a storm in a drought, a comet in the night. Acting first, thinking later, carried on not by foresight, but on luck’s slippery feet. And so we were not as surprised as we should have been when, one warm night in our tenth year on the mountain, Father showed us the flying machine.
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