During Mississippi summers,
The state swelters in the haze of an eternal sun.
No one sits out on the levee to moan;
The residents wax nostalgic of the Great Floods.
The shadows of the clouds are hot, and waterless;
The sun rises, and the animals flee to the river.
The catfish bubble and boil
In shriveling swamp water;
The fading magnolias slump to the ground,
Begging for the refuge of rain 𑁋
Despite July chasing away the folk until sundown,
You’d still see teenage boys
On the practice fields and vacant lawns,
Trying to catch the ghost of Jerry Rice.
Matthew Johnson's poetry has appeared in The Roanoke Review, Maudlin House and elsewhere. He is a Best of the Net Nominee (2017) and his debut collection is scheduled to be released in June by Kelsay Books. You can find him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/Matt_Johnson_D.