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by Timothy Murphy

Topsoil was sodden when November’s freeze
ushered in winter, five months of blowing snow,
and there’s only one way this flood can go,
north to Hudson’s Bay and the frozen seas.
Three million sandbags in the Fargodome
ready for trucking: rising water calls
student athletes from their un-ivied halls
to make levies and dikes their April home.

Hundred-year floods come every other year
as laser scrapers deepen every ditch
to drain the fields. Farmers, long poor, now rich,
who never milked a cow nor stooped to shear
a sheep, because there’s not a field of grass
left in the Valley, have brought us to this pass.

Tim Murphy farmed and still hunts in the Dakotas. The Dakota Institute Press published two new collections of his, Mortal Stakes and Faint Thunder, in March 2011.

Pat Jones
Published 30 May 2011