Unused Floodplain

When the Rio Grande enters El Paso
it changes from a simple river
to an international boundary
with a lot of rules.

It is not like the up stream Rio Grande
does not know rules, since it does.
But up stream rules control usage
not crossings.

After seventy-seven days without measurable rain
the river looked to be in poor health
and able to be crossed
with a hop skip and jump.

Monsoon season arrived seventeen June.
Rain fell up and down the central valley
creating feeder streams
from sandy arroyos and concrete ditches.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Dry

As I sat in front of the space heater
under the bathroom sink
and its fan blew air past red-orange coils
my eyes tried to capture the instant
water droplets evaporated
from the surface of my skin
but my eyes seemed slow
since each droplet was there
and then gone without subtlety
instead of a gradual reduction of size
into nothingness.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Impermanence

Water works
its way around a stone
too large to be submerged
except on early spring days
when snow melt
combines with rain
and the creek spills its banks
in low places.

Each water droplet
grabs stone granules
like lateral mountain climbers
and those droplets
work their way around
the stone.

But each droplet’s handhold
removes a little of
each granule’s resolve
to be part of the whole
that forms the stone.

First the sharp edges go.
Then the smoothing continues.
And each of these granules
tumbles with the current
stop and go toward the sea.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Drink

We dig the well
deep under white sands—
not deep enough
to escape the click-click-click
of the geiger counter.

Your desperation is so great
you claim out loud
that coffee and boiling
neutralize excited particles
and half-lives.

We dig the well
deeper than the old ocean bed
and the calcified remains
of animals that pre-existed
dinosaurs.

I pour you a glass
of water so clear
it bridges back to an era
when this land mass
was equatorial.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney