When the thumb of summer presses down
and the creek dries up,
a subterranean babble rises from under bed-rocks,
lapping at the roof of a mouth.
It could pass for someone sighing, a girl laughing,
lovers whispering secrets grabbed by air.
It could be what is left of ancient voices
escaping through their secret door—
much like trapped fingerling trout
thrashing against the prison chill
of their shrinking pools, weight of the end
upon them.


Runner-up in the 2009 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, judged by Major Jackson.