Poems by Jacqueline Balderrama

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Without the Flood

by Jacqueline Balderrama

From Canary Summer 2017

Jacqueline lives in the Jordan River watershed with a surrounding view of the Wasatch Mountains and the Oquirrh Mountains.

There’s not just one story of disappearance
in a one-hundred-year flood zone, where runoff
from the Santa Ana had all my life been dry or nearly,
which is to say the flood is never coming.
My sisters and I lived near alley-like fields marked by the negative
space of fenced-in backyards, their overhanging fruit:
crab apples to be cut down in five years
apricots, pomegranates. We named a dog there
by the brand of its license and pet it through the chain-link
a few fingers at a time until we were told,
Top Paw was taken to the pound.
Far off, the missing river is partly cemented
and heats itself. Can a flood happen without water?
In the field, we throw clods of dirt into overgrown corrals
of jimson weed, its trumpet blooms, and abandoned horse sheds.
What belonged to the river was nothing.

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