Water Caltrops in Autumn

The morning news began with displacement. The night
before, the river had quietly turned against us. Worldwide

meteorological tempering had entered our own bones. Weeks
hence, struggles of economic offsetting and the microclimate

of our obscure world was flashed on country-wide screens—
the same week I discovered that foxtail orchids silently grew

in a wall-hinged corner of our yard. Forty autumn rains ago,
my mother was halving water caltrops and us kids were circling

post-breakfast wild mints when we saw the oceans collapsing
into ghost-land, bringing their subzero airspace into our houses,

our gardens, our channeled streets, imbuing the grass between
trees of betel nuts and bamboo. The counteractive cultivar

conditioned the undivided territorial waters flinging their force
against the funneled furrows, multiplying as we stood and gasped,

unwarned. At four, I would swirl whirlpools in our makeshift tub,
sitting in the comfort of tepid water for hours and hours until

my fingers became pruney—my mother said it is evolution
helping us grip things in water. At eight, I sat in a puddle

of broken twigs and rioting hens, dreaming of planes
dispensing honeysuckles to our arctic circle of barrenness.

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