What We Sow


They finished the ring road when I was young,

but I remember its dirt surface scarring

the desert, the barricades.


Later, we drove along it; turned east at

the intersection where ritzy houses

stood atop promontories, sneering down

on those who passed.


Sagebrush gave way to older homes,

shaded by thirsty, non-native trees;

small ranches where horses and cows

watched the cars go by.


Then the semi-urban heart, a mall built

in the sixties, where the parquet floor kicked

up wooden rectangles, loosened by steps.


Since my father’s death, no reason to make

my visits anything but virtual;

I drive my childhood on Google maps:

ranches subdivided, horses gone.


The oldest houses remain surrounded

by chain-link fences that rich folk scorn,

and the new homes? Manicured, with thirsty

green grass.


They tore the mall down years ago; left an

empty lot where it stood, a ghost circled

by chain link, and sagebrush grows where asphalt cracks.


No one here cares that they’ve overbuilt,

that the water supply won’t sustain them.

They don’t know that they’re dying, that they’ll reap

what they sowed.


They killed the small town to build a city

on its grave, but never had a plan they

could stick to, so now the city’s slowly

dying, too.


And I close the map, happy to have left

the biggest little city, a tumbleweed

that took root elsewhere.