Start with a kiln-dry summer day,
when the earth cracks with longing,
and sweat makes tracks between your breasts.

The air’s so still you hear a beetle scuttle
on the screen, the sun dims in a sullen sky,
and crickets stop chirping. Maybe they know
what’s coming, or they’re tired of asking.

Then it starts – the first lazy drops –
and when the wooden porch step’s dappled,
you go out and lift your face to the embrace
and breathe in the mix of dust and rain
like a lover’s musk.

– Sarah Russell
First published in The Houseboat
Painting by  Rafaelll90 Digital Art


“She is beautiful and blameless. . .”

Dave Bonta is the only poet I know who could write an insightful and compassionate poem about a mosquito.  Dave lets us share the mountains and forests he calls home every day from his blog Morning Porch.  I guarantee you’ll become a fan.  And for more from his mountains, check out his new book Ice Mountain: An Elegy, a poetic six month diary of daily observations about a mountain losing its battle with man.  You can learn more about Dave here.

*Aedes vexans*

On the last day of summer, drifting
slow as hope through the thick air of evening,
she chances into a plume of CO2
& follows it upstream until she senses my arm’s
telltale heat. She hovers, then sinks
the last few inches straight down
into my pelt with all her landing gear extended,
proboscis going into the skin
even as the slight craft of her body
still rides the hairs down, her feet stretching
one by one down, down,
& I am here. Lord, I am here.
She is beautiful & blameless & I in a mood to share
the beer in my veins, watching as her banded abdomen
turns dark, inflates.
A long minute later she pulls out, rises unsteadily
& sails off singing her single note.
Then comes a rapid patter across the field, the yard,
staccato on the porch roof & into the woods –
suddenly it’s pouring & the treetops are bending,
swaying under the weight of it
even before the first drops
penetrate all the way to the forest floor.
A wheal rises where the mosquito took
the only blood supper of her purposeful life.
While I sit waiting for God knows what,
it has fallen to me, what she no longer needs:
the goad of her saliva.
Her fierce itch.

– Dave Bonta