Through the white, beating Texan heat,
water towers cry out titles
high above the flat land
where kids from roadside houses
run around in stained tank tops,
dreaming of their own names up there.
The long and burnt grass cuts their ankles
and the dry cement scrapes their feet.
The midday ritual begins in a racing circle
raising dust over the roofs and into the shy afternoon.
Around 5, the roadside families reunite
in front of their houses to watch the daily traffic jam
and observe the variety of faces through the glass windows,
which after a short while don't seem to vary at all.
But today, something else had their full attention.
The sky was never seen this low and the clouds
turned a shade of black
so dark as to be almost green,
so the eldest women on that single row of houses
declared bad omen. The next early morning,
the closest water tower lay gravely against the ground.
Already, a small boy had climbed on top of the tank,
soles bleeding, and waving
his shirt into the wide clear sky.