El Niño, La Niña

Some say the summer of '__ was the start.
In Hong Kong, hikers walked across the dry
bed of the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir.
In Chennai, dead fish floated to the surface
of nearly barren lakes. Along the northern
California coastline, mussels roasted
on their rocky beds, their scorched shells
gaping at the sky. In Rajasthan the widows
and grandmothers prayed for monsoon, for
lashing rains to feed the fields of millet.
We wondered at what temperature cables on
suspension bridges would melt, if skyscraper
windows would begin to liquefy and sweat
like stacks of ice cubes. Now we know
how waves of weather roil over one
part of the planet and cause
a corresponding intensity in the other.
The moody oceans used to cool as well
as warm. People used to spread blankets
and lie on the beach all day, then run
laughing into the foam. Barefoot children
could walk along the water's edge, looking
for roly polies and skittish sand crabs.

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