A July Afternoon In The Texas Hill Country
By Laraine Kentridge Lasdon
Across the valley, salted with the distant sands of the Sahara, I hear the raucous song of
summer’s cicadas. As a counterpoint, dry Texas mesquite trees offer a sullen crack like old men
requiring their Club Soda with Quinine to clear their throat, burning with age. The sun, so often
serenaded for its pink bloom of morning, its golden orb at noon and fiery red at sunset, today, in
mid-July, does not move. My shadow, so reliably robust by late afternoon, rich as Durer’s
Melancholia, deeply engraved on the stones and grasses of the Hill country, is so pale in this
terrible light, that I begin to doubt my existence. And what if that existence was in doubt?
A wasp looping, dipping in a slim glaze of water.
Brown leaves hanging loosely from branches
like the hot tongues of exhausted ranch dogs.
Lone Star flags rustle on their poles. Lemonade glasses perspire.
The wasp in the birdbath loops, dips, sips and dies.