A free-verse poem about 2011's record setting triple-digit high temperatures and drought.
|Back in my Army days (1968 – 70),
I lived two years in a real desert
in El Paso, Texas, where in 1969
the summer had thirty-six days
of 100-plus highs and no rain.
There was no grass, few trees,
mostly sand, shrubs, and cacti.
Expensive houses had gravel yards.
It was all rather ugly and drab
compared to the Southeast I loved.
Every summer day was miserably hot.
The snakes and lizards loved it.
Native Texans said it was a dry heat,
supposedly making it not that bad.
My oven cooks with dry heat.
I chose to live in Shreveport, Louisiana,
where the summers normally have rain
and only seven 100-degree days.
The surroundings are green and lush.
Not the summer of 2011!
This summer has record heat and drought.
Spring saw eight days of triple-digit heat.
Now, through the first week of August,
twenty-seven more days with 100-plus highs
were recorded, making thirty-five thus far.
Today’s seven-day forecast has another week
of 102- to 109-degree days with no rain.
104, 103, 106, 102, 107, 108, 109 … mercy!
(Humidex levels range from 112 to 120.)
It’s like living in a desert again:
No rain. Drought conditions. Record heat.
The all-time record number of 100-plus
highs for Shreveport is forty-seven.
With three more weeks of August
and the first half of September
still to go in this summer of record heat,
we should break that all-time record
for total number of triple-digit days.
Additionally, we’ve set ten daily records
for highs thus far this summer.
Without watering, the lawns all turn
brown and crunchy, the flowers wither,
the trees droop. Area lakes and rivers
are drying up drastically.
Rain, we need rain.
The cracked ground thirsts!
But the drought continues unbroken.
Is God mad at us? (I didn’t do it!)
I read where due to global warming --
umm, global climate change --
the southeastern U.S. would change
from lush and wet into dry and barren,
from farmland to arid desert
over the next forty to fifty years.
Summer of 2011 seems headed that way.
Tell me again, Rush Limbaugh,
how all this is just a hoax
made up by the liberal Democrats
and the pointy-headed scientists.
It would be nice if you were finally
right once in your life about something …
but I doubt if this is it.
My, oh, my, but Shreveport is super hot,
extremely dry this summer of 2011.
Much of the nation also suffers.
[Note: The summer of 2011 had 62 days with the high temperature reaching 100 or over, including three days in a row in August with 108s, making it the hottest summer ever recorded for Shreveport. This record heat was accompanied by extreme drought.]
Please check out my ten books: