Drying Out

By Victor Clevenger

Forty-six days ago things were alive
and beautiful. Fish swam like fish;
frogs croaked like frogs do, but forty-
six days of drying and dying, and the
fish just don’t swim anymore, and the
frogs don’t croak quite the same.

Window-sash-cracked-open-air isn’t
even enough to stir about a good finger
job as I suffer with her heavy legs
draped over mine. Heat-induced
lightning has become soft foreplay—it’s
a rough colored golden flicker

somewhere between the skin tone of a
pumpkin, and a thin slice of cheddar.
“Just get up!” I tell her, “I think that
tonight is the night.” And after an hour
of sitting on the dirty front steps as the
lightning dance battled with sharp points

through the clouds, nothing gave. “I’m
going inside,” I tell her, “I’m going to sit
naked, and fan myself off with a magazine.”
I strip down, and I work a two-month old
Redbook the best that I can, and she lies
beside me stretched marvelously, sucking

wetness from a glass with a straw—dry,
hot, teased, and damned. “I think only
the long bearded man who sells the snow
cones on the street corner loves droughts
like this,” I tell her. And she agrees.


Victor Clevenger spends his days in a Madhouse and his nights writing poetry and short stories from the kitchen table of his ex-wife’s home in Missouri. Selected pieces of Victor’s work have appeared at, or are forthcoming in, Chiron Review; Blink Ink; *82, Least Bittern Books, among several others. His latest collection is titled, In All These Naked Pictures Of Us.