She had not intended to eat her keyboard
but no better option presented itself on the thirty-second                      
day of the longest dry spell
in the shire’s history.   Her consumptive act,
while not pre-meditated,  was not entirely random
either.   She had systematically deployed lesser tactics,
hammered out whole battalions of


only to watch them crumple
like unarmed soldiers,  like tumbleweeds in heaving
dustbowls,  leaving nothing but lime-colored
scum and two flies lining the floor of the shire’s
well.   It fell to her,  the definer,  to vanquish
the unbounded drought.  While fingering
last night’s chopstick,  she began prying out the “o”
knowing this one was somehow at the root
of all the trouble  –  its exuberant circumference mocking
droplets and well holes and open mouths.

It went down easier than it let go,  and she moved on
to the “w."   By the time she got to the
punctuation,  she discovered the merits of mango
chutney.   Numbers were toasted with peanut
sauce,  function keys floated in miso broth.  When her meal
was complete,  she belched up the asterisk and
ampersand,  shoved the skeletonized keypad back
under the desk and went for her after-dinner
ramble,  having altogether forgotten
her societal mandate.   But an imperceptible shift
in her gait,  a whisper of alien fragrance,  a glimpse of
seashells,  gave her away.   And the villagers all scurried home
to set out buckets and kettles and washbasins.

A Full Woman's Word   Fuji crystal archive print
Copyright 2000, Carolyn Krieg

Copyright 2006,  Kim Goldberg

Kim Goldberg’s Ride Backwards on Dragon collection was a finalist for Canada’s Gerald Lampert Award.  Her collection of Red Zone poems about urban homelessness has been taught in literature courses at Vancouver Island University and elsewhere.  Visit her online at   "Rainmaker" originally appeared in On Spec, Winter 2006, No. 67.

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