They said the wells were innocent.
Drained of their essence by greedy furrows.
Every family protected a lush
lawn. Intervention was the last resort.
When the prairie’s water was endless
the longitude and latitude of borders was a joke.
Stretching beyond the horizon you can never get to
snow pack and floods were my food.
I refused to punish the wells and cisterns.
I never blamed the weather.
Rivers change course and my emptiness yawns
as your dust accumulates.
My three billion acre feet named after
a shrinking town, named after a scattered nation.
I’ll be the desert. You be the plains.
Let’s play hide and seek with all that nothing.
Ogallala runs off your tongue.
—Cathryn Shea’s poetry has appeared in Gargoyle, Rust + Moth, Tinderbox, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Snap Bean, is by CC.Marimbo (2014, Berkeley). Cathryn is in the 2012 anthology Open to Interpretation: Intimate Landscape. She served as editor for Marin Poetry Center Anthology and is the author of dozens of software and database books, which you may be blessed never to read. Cathryn lives in Fairfax, CA. See www.cathrynshea.com and @cathy_shea on Twitter.