April comes and April goes, and May, and June, all passing by without shedding a drop of rain. The sky has been a blue desert since spring. The sun rises every morning, a bright white disk growing larger and hotter each day. Cicadas drawl halfheartedly in the trees. The reservoir outside the village has shrunken into a bathtub for the boys, peeing at each other in the waist-deep water.

Two girls, four or five, stand by the main road, their bare arms waving like desperate wings of baby birds as they chant to the motionless air, “Come the east wind. Come the west wind. Come the east-west-north-south wind and cool my armpits.”

Now that July has only to move its hind foot out the door in a matter of days, we have started to wish, instead of rain, that no rain will fall and the drought will last till the end of the harvest season. Peasants as we are, and worrying about the grainless autumn as we are, the drought has, to our surprise, brought a languid satisfaction to our lives. Every day,…