Desert Reservoirs

Kay Ryan

They are beachless
basins, steep edged
catches, unnatural
bodies of water wedged
into canyons, stranded
unable to vanish
or moisten a landscape
of cactus adapted
to thrift, a wasteland
to creatures who chew
one another or grasses
for moisture. Nothing
here matches their gift.

Kay Ryan ’s The Best of It: New and Selected Poems won the Pulitzer Prize. She was U. S. Poet Laureate from 2008 to 2010, during which time she championed community colleges like the one in Marin County, California where she taught for over thirty years. She received a 2012 National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama.
Originally published:
June 28, 2008


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