This week’s poem evokes the desperation of a drought and its reverberating effects. Notice how the speaker of the poem tells the story of her great-grandfather and grandfather, then a young boy, placing herself in this lineage of hurt.

Suzanne Langlois’s poems have appeared in Nailed Magazine, Cider Press Review, The Fourth River, Rust + Moth, Rattle and elsewhere. She is currently an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College. She lives in Portland and teaches English at Falmouth High School.


By Suzanne Langlois

After the dust swallowed the livestock,

stole the bees from their dry hive,

peeled the green from everything—

after a thick coat of what once was farm

filled the windowsill with black grime—

that is when my great-grandfather

went out onto the porch

and loaded the shot gun.

His young son watched him

from behind the screen door

wondering what was left to kill

in this husk of a land beaten

by the wind’s calloused palms.

With even the dog gone,

what was left that could still bleed?

He wondered this as he watched

his father cross the packed earth

between the house and the barn—

stood, wondering, as the shot

tore the day into before and after.

Before, when he wondered

and after, when he knew.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is a poet who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2010 Suzanne Langlois. It appeared originally in Bracken, Issue V, 2010, and appears here by permission of the author. For an archive of all the poems that have appeared in this column, go to

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