Rebekah Just When the Drought Was Ending

by Justin Hamm

But the best thing about Rebekah

was the way she floated always

beneath the scent of woodburn

and dusty Middle America,

her keen ranch-queen convictions

slicing deep and deeper into

the tiniest of daily miseries

with skepticism, demanding always

some proof before she'd concede

this life He pieced together for us

cell by cell with ever shakier Godfingers

contained even one malignancy.


Every bow-legged young bull rider,

every sunburnt farmer of someday

who stopped by to mend a fence

or just to offer genteel salutations

would see her backlit by sunset,

dream her into his own mother

and pray to the essence of the prairie

to do what old bones could not.

And it worked. She survived well enough

to give of herself four more seasons

among luckless kinfolk who every one

drank greedily the blood she squeezed

and felt the cracked lips of dry times less.


As long as there was some great need

into which she could empty herself

she could will the heart to continue

and none of the rules of dying applied,

but she must've seen that the new rain

wasn't baptismal or meant for her restoration.

When those stormclouds finally swelled

and burst into fat miracle drumbeats

she must've felt the change was coming on.

Why else open the windows so wide

with no thought for the evening chill?

Why else cut a hundred wildflowers

and arrange them into fiery clusters

but pour no water into their vases?