Spare Me Yellow Skies

by Abby Wendle


This past July was the hottest month ever on record for Oklahoma, or any other state for that matter. Farmers and ranchers have been the hardest hit by the drought. In this segment of Poetry to the People, a handful of farmers and ranchers read Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel’s poem “Spare Me Yellow Skies” and reflect on how they’ve fared during this brutal summer.


Spare Me Yellow Skies

by Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel


Temperature is 105
high pressure puts
a hateful cap on our
and holds it there


Under a sullen mustard
that will not relent
and weep us rain


My poor house suffers
as much as I
the tiny patio
would gladly move to Pismo Beach


The cactus in Mama’s pottery
has turned to gray mush
and the neighbor
with all the terrible secrets
has not opened her drapes


I pull my drapes wide open
and ask myself again
why does a yellow sky
trouble me


I have loved blue skies
and purple
gray and black
I have embraced as sisters


but someone spare me yellow


Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel was born in 1918 into an Oklahoma sharecropping family. In 1936 they fled the drought, dust and the Depression of Oklahoma. She died in California in 2007.