Erin O'Neill

Ogallala Aquifer

On the Llano Estacado,
Water is everywhere this dark night
Hissing like a serpent,
Glistening white from shadowed
Puddles standing in gullies— 

We make it go where we want.
Though some say there will not be enough,
The veal calves will not be thirsty,
Nor will the front lawn fountain
Whispering streams for the midnight quiet. 

There is so much here in this windblown desert,
It will break your heart.  It will make you stop
And wonder to see St. Francis
Standing in the center of it all. 

On Sunday morning, the waste-filled
Dairy pond will be recycled,
We will use it here again;
There will never be enough. 

If just one cow could speak,
Or a chicken could get good press,
We might get somewhere.
We might buy the Pecos River
Back from Texas. 

Each drop seems like a star
Shimmering hard
Far off, like some fixed equation,
Not seventy-five percent
Of what we are.