Meadows No More
by Margie B. Klein
Las Vegas, Nevada
They called it ‘the meadows.’ Unimaginable
that a hot-as-Hades desert with the allure
of a gravel pit could have been this.
Springs sprouted they said. Creeks flowed they said.
Swimming was the order of a summer day and no one
seemed bothered by the heat. Fruits and vegetables grew with abandon.
Cattle grazed on native grasses. This was the oasis
of the Las Vegas territory. Miners, miscreants and missionaries
couldn’t resist the haven on their travels.
Up went the way stations, up went the hotels,
up went the town. Down went the water table.
Dry went the springs. Foreign tumbleweeds
moved in along with the people. Local humidity
went down so people used swamp coolers,
fueled by water. They brought in tropical plants
to decorate their mirage, and installed
fountains, pools, and waterfalls. They built and built,
to the edges of the valley and beyond.
Two million fools trying to subsist
on a draining artificial reservoir. Hey, let’s try
to use native plants; conserve our water in the shower.
It’s too late. The boomtown will become a bust.
A dusty ghost town will be left. The businesses
will close and the people will run.
But where will the animals go?