My Dutch side admires a well-constructed dam,
but another side is rooting for the flood,
outraged at the way we redirect rivers
for our sailboats and fountains.
On one of those trips over the continental
divide, I learned about the lost towns
under water on the wet side of the dam
and imagined living there.
But I was the girl who squeezed through
the barbed-wire fence behind the sheep pen
and disappeared for hours all alone
looking for cactus flowers and mariposas.
Every time I’ve gone to Lake Powell
It seemed more like hell, and every lake
I’ve seen in the desert since then
has been its echo, though less colorful.
Take Tempe Lake and its blue-lit buildings,
the swooping line of the bridge,
so beautiful at night, and lovely by day,
but I take photos of the other side.
The dry side of the dam is where I live now,
past all that water under the bridge,
the history and humidity, reflections
and memories all under water.
The dry side is a new place, open
and promising just because it’s bare,
as if the river’s mask is peeled back
and those rocks and dirt are its true face.
I could walk forever in this new path
with the lake held back behind me
and tiny new discoveries hiding
below my feet as I head toward the horizon.