we steal water when we make rain, the way
everything I have is from somewhere else,
from someone else, what I am
the riverbed looks scalded
but the wound is full thickness
in a variegated field or on a lawn
of grass named for a saint
or a saint once removed
we can’t walk on it
eventually it comes up
dry and tired
the way we wear everything out
especially each other
listening with heavy feet
unlike the river which never tires
whose pocket we pick
down to the lint
Martha Serpas has published three collections of poetry, Côte Blanche, The Dirty Side of the Storm, and, most recently, The Diener. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Image, and Southwest Review. A native of Southern Louisiana’s wetlands, she co-produced Veins in the Gulf, a documentary about coastal erosion. She teaches at the University of Houston and serves as a hospital trauma chaplain. More information about her work can be found at marthaserpas.com.
©Martha Serpas, “Irrigation,” first appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, V14N2, Fall 2014. Reprinted with permission of the author.
This material is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Recommended Citation: Serpas, Martha. (2015) “Irrigation,” The Yale ISM Review: Vol. 2: No. 1, Article 9. Available at: https://ismreview.yale.edu
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