August is a dead month.

The end of the marathon
when you can only stand and pull oxygen into
your tortured lungs,
drip sweat into the dust,
and wonder why you started.

Fire starts quickly in August.
Sparks from a tractor blade.
Glass reflecting bright in the sun.
Surveying the dry, yellow field
I watch distant heat lightning with dread.

August breathes hot on my neck,
an animal closing in behind me.
Doves take baths in their private dust-spas,
a grey fox scavenges in the dead grass.
Creatures search for shade, for relief.

Shadows in the barn offer little solace.
Heavy air moves through shafts of sunlight,
creating shimmering mirages as
dust motes try to party.
Even they have no energy.

August is a dead month.

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