Volume 21, Number 122,

by Gerry Mooney

Sirius rises early,
even before the sun
has shaken off sleep.

The ancient Greeks believed
this was the time of year
the sun shone brightest,
grilling the ground
with its scorching stare.

I know only
that it is cicada-hot outside.
The red-eyed insects alert us
with their rasping, high-pitched,
telephone-wire buzz - nature’s
thermometers, heralds
of dry, hot weather.

Our gardens beg for water.
Leaves hang like limp laundry
pinned to unsteady stems
and the wilting grass doesn’t recover
from the pressure of my footsteps.

Neighbourhood lawns are
leopard-spotted, some
as brown as coffee. Hairy chinch bugs
have swarmed the area,
sucking moisture from grass plants.

Metallic-green Japanese beetles
flex copper-brown wings,
muscle through rose bushes,
ravaging pouty pink blossoms,
and green foliage,
discarding skeletonized remains.

And black boxelder bugs,
with red military stripes,
invade plants, rocks and trees,
searching for a sunny spot
to laze and snooze.

Maybe tomorrow they will cloak
the south-facing walls
of our homes, signaling
the demise of the dog days.

Unable to sleep,
I watch as Sirius rises early.