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Jimmy Santiago Baca

(2 January 1952 / Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Too Much of a Good Thing


Snow’s been melting too soon—
passing the Río Grande every day, I note
water level is high,
all flowing down river.
What happens
when I need to irrigate pastures
in summer
and there is no water?
Farmers get edgy.
Start cursing neighbors under their breath
for using too much water.
Crops stunted,
only one alfalfa cutting
instead of three,
no feed for cows,
no money to buy feed . . .
and then like it happened a few years ago,
Mr. Gonzales goes out
and you hear rifle shots blister
cold morning air,
and you know his cattle
are falling in snow,
dead.
At Coronado Center, biggest shopping mall
in New Mexico, I hear two suntanned ladies
praising our wonderful weather. I give them
a glance, throw my gloves
on the counter for the cashier, and wonder what
a farmer’s wife would tell them.

Submitted: Monday, January 02, 2012

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