The Wake

by a contributor

Fred MacVaugh

Paddle-shaped leaves like tiny flags
Bid farewell above sandbagged levees.
Their backs to banks, governors condemn
The weathermen for failed forecasts:
The record snows in the Rockies,
The unseasonable rains, and 100-year floods.
They blame the Corps of Engineers
For damming too much water
And not enough, its flood controls ineffective,
Its five-year plans obsolete.
The cottonwood care nothing for planning
Or blame. When muddy waters rise,
Something gives: Earth first then roots.
They fall the second soils weaken.

Later this month, Fred MacVaugh will arrive at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site in western North Dakota, where he’ll work as a museum technician. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Plainsongs, Plains Song Review, South Dakota Review, and Watershed. He is the Science Editor at Hothouse: A Place of Inquiry, for which he writes a monthly blog that explores the intersections of art, culture, nature, place, and science.

See Fred’s list of 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.