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2 poems by Susan Barry-Schulz

droughts come on faster, study finds

—new york times headline April 13, 2023

i’ve been saving water for you. hoard

is an ugly word. been collecting the rain.

lugging buckets up from the lake. storing

it by the gallon in plastic milk jugs & old

2-liter Pepsi bottles. i’ve funneled the melting

snow into the cedar-lined closets of your child-

hood home. packed the Coleman cooler tight

as sardines with icicles snapped from the gutters.

gone back to the days of a kept brick in the toilet

tank. a collection of pots arranged strategically

on the shower floor. next time you come home

you should take some back with you. just in case.

i know people will say it’s too soon & you don’t

have to do this yet. i hope i’m wrong. i hope somebody

smarter than me has a better plan. i’ve just never been

one of those who could choose to ignore the dangling


Portrait of a Zucchini in a Heat Wave

lawns browned the color of straw

nothing flaps or sways drag the dog

on a sad walk pressed

by the heat past covered garbage

cans erect and boiling at the curb

nothing swings or ripples

ghost neighbors hunker

behind the white noise

of central air rain barrel

empty my husband lugs an orange 5

gallon bucket up and down the stairs

from the shower to the dehumidifier tray

hauls water to the frazzled patch out back

picks one slender squash under un-

promising skies bright green

and still warm I slice it thin

spritz oil shake

salt grind pepper scatter

garlic powder roast

@ 400 degrees 20 minutes

later at the dining room table

we savor the flavor

caramelized & earth-


& summoning

the smallest hint of a breeze.


Susan Barry-Schulz grew up just outside of Buffalo, New York. She is a physical therapist living with chronic illness. Her poetry has appeared in SWWIM, Barrelhouse online, Shooter Literary Magazine, Bending Genres, B O D Y, Gyroscope Review, Quartet, Iron Horse Literary Review, West Trestle Review, and elsewhere.


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