leaves droop from trees 
the sky droops from branches 
like a white sheet 
to hold the locusts in 
their buzzsaw whine 
a blaze of sound 

july is god's forge, god's 
hammer coming down 
again and again, stupefyingly 
hot at seven o'clock 
the heat its own kind of sound 
a swarm upon my skin 
july is sumo wrestling with the sun 
belly to belly we stomp 
and sweat and shout 
the sun always wins 

the birds slump and pant 
too hot to chase the 
screaming insects 
even the wind 
dries out, curls up panting 
in the woodpile 
with the snakes.