Outside Las Vegas (at Lake Mead)

by April 20, 2023 0 comments

Your texts
freight my phone,

little words, phrases
you use like a knife

to dissect what is us.

I might not see you again
but right now

I’m quickened by
Lake Mead,

drought-stricken,
hundreds of feet below normal,

a suspended dock,
sand reaching its distance,

the far bluff’s bleached line
where water used to be:

a tell that we live to excess.

This water’s absence
stands as a sign:

don’t we all, at the end,
choose us,

what we’ve come to do
in Eliot’s waste,

because we feel
we have no one else,

my hands holding
my cupful of fear.

Why else does chalk
fill my mouth

while my culture’s great cities, little burgs
express self as the epitome of the age.

This absence over water I face
offers its critique,

pulls me
to a conclusion

as hard as any epitaph
slurred on us:

that we thought
the earth was ours.

Across the depleted lake,
I see a void

that waits for me.
No different than

the ache I feel
when I think of going on without you.

– Dale Cottingham

editors note:

We center on self and lose what we love. Gosh, I’m thirsty! – mh clay

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