Project Description

Rain in My Hands

A friend told me,
“I can’t tell if this
is a year of gain or
loss.” She flinched
as if someone had lain
cold hands upon her
shoulders. “I miss
the splash of water
on my skin,” she said,
and everywhere, the
trees agreed, their
branches lifted
to the sky like the arms
of preachers.
It’s October. The heat
won’t leave, keeps
us bent to the ground
like tired cats.
Imagination built
the West, but drought
takes it back.
The swimming pools
are empty, concrete-
coated holes
dyed nursery blue.
My sleeping dog
flips her tail and sobs,
and I remember
a recent dream:
I stood alone
in the grass
and felt the rain
falling on
my hands.

Grass, the Conqueror

It’s a wild green animal. It wants to be everywhere.
It’s an ocean. You could surf this grass. It’s food.

It’s juicy and messy and tough. It heals wounds.
You could wear this grass. It looks good on everyone.

This grass moves into the neighborhood,
puts down roots, and stands up for itself.

You can’t mow this grass. It’s out of your league.
This grass is a machine. It laughs at your sidewalk.

It eats concrete for breakfast. This grass will cut you.
It’s full of tiny knives. It grabs your ankles and trips you.

This grass is soft. It’s a bed, a fort, a cave. It’s home
to the red-legged locust and the American bird grasshopper.

It’s where the leaf beetle meets the swallowtail butterfly
meets the crab spider. Lie down in this grass. Listen.

This grass is faster than sound. It’s louder than thought.
Pray to this grass. Perhaps it will hear you.

Erica Goss

Erica Goss served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, California from 2013-2016. Her latest poetry collection, Night Court, won the 2016 Lyrebird Prize from Glass Lyre Press. She is the author of Wild Place (2012, Finishing Line Press) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (2014, Pushpen Press). She is the co-founder of Media Poetry Studio, a poetry-and-film camp for teen girls, and the founder of Video Storytelling. Erica lives in Eugene, Oregon, and teaches classes in poetry and video.