A small creek at the far end of our flat back field
flooded into a rut dug, a border separating yards.
A dead tree trunk charred by lightning leaned
in the furrow widened into a deeper depression,
where chain-sawed branches floated when filled
with rain. We called it our moat, poked the bloated logs
with long sticks, balanced on fat ones as if riding down
a river from a sawmill, inhaled the scent of muddy water,
soggy bark—earthy teetering on the edge of rotten.
Built dams with rocks, leaves, mud, released them with glee.
The hill on the other side of the creek, bare but for scraggly weeds,
eroded in vertical valleys that carried runoff water. During drought,
like a desert sandstorm, the wind snatched the dry red dirt,
filming our lips—a sour, citrusy taste.