Spring Draw-Down

Designs for McCormick Windows, by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

You tiny flowers, cream and purple,
you smooth and sloping greens of lawn
on the sandy rings of this reservoir,
why do you bother? Soon you will be
as drowned and dead as the silvery snags
right next to you, the ones that have been
hanging on since 1949.

Such existential courage you have!
Such bravery born out of despair!
Or is it faith, the wan hope of this wasted shore
returned again to once and future verdancy,
a paradise of fern and cedar? If so,
pray for drought. For earthquake.

      —Ross Lake National Recreation Area

Paul Willis is a professor of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. His most recent collection of poetry is Getting to Gardisky Lake (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2016).
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