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Laureate’s Lemonade

A refreshing mix of poetry and prose by Eve West Bessier, Poet Laureate of Grant County, New Mexico (and occasional guest writers)

Water Flowing Underground

The Mimbres River flows south from the Black Range and the surface flow
of the river dissipates in the desert north of Deming, but the river bed and
storm drainage continue eastward, any permanent flow remaining underground.

Excerpt from: “Mimbres River Basin, State of New Mexico Wildlife.” Archived from the original on 9/5/2008

Snowmelt swells the Mimbres,
flowing under cover of stars,
down from the Gila headwaters
through this quiet bucolic valley.

The river’s rush in monsoon season
turns to gurgling whispers in fall.
The cottonwoods hush their greens
to yellows, then browns, then gone.

When the river’s surface flow
trickles south, ending
in yucca-speckled desert,
there is water flowing underground,
unseen beneath the dry riverbed.

Like this high desert river,
the life stories
of the ancient Mimbres people
who lived here from 200-1000 CE,
endure underground,
an invisible flow.

When painted Mimbres bowls rose
to the surface, cowboys used them
for target practice, as a lark.
Later archeologists excavated more,
pieced together their significance,
then placed them under glass.

History, like an underground river
slips beneath
our modern sensibilities until
something unearths
its memory, something that rings
true, demands attention.

When the water reappears
from dry soil, we are awed
as if it has come from nowhere,
but beneath the surface
an ancient subterranean
aquifer whispers its deep
enduring promise.

What stories do our underground
waters speak in subdued
yet urgent tones, heard
only at night when clouds
obscure the stars
and monsoon rains
swell the current?

What must we learn
from these stories?

Look for a new post of
Laureate’s Lemonade
every third Saturday.

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Eve West Bessier scroll down,
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The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Southwest Word Fiesta™ or its steering committee.

Eve West Bessier

Eve is a poet laureate emerita of Silver City and Grant County, New Mexico; and of Davis and Yolo County, California. She has served on the steering committee for the Southwest Word Fiesta, and was a presenter during two festivals. Eve is a retired social scientist, voice and life coach. She is a writer, jazz vocalist, photographer and nature enthusiast living in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Enriching Life Through Learning in Community

We respectfully acknowledge that the entirety of southwestern New Mexico is the traditional territory, since time immemorial, of the Chis-Nde, also known as the people of the Chiricahua Apache Nation. The Chiricahua Apache Nation is recognized as a sovereign Native Nation by the United States in the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Friendship of 1 July 1852 (10 Stat. 979) (Treaty of Santa Fe ratified 23 March 1853 and proclaimed by President Franklin Pierce 25 March 1853).

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Mimbres Press of Western New Mexico University is a traditional academic press that welcomes agented and unagented submissions in the following genres: literary fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s books, historical fiction, and academic books. We are particularly interested in academic work and commercial work with a strong social message, including but not limited to works of history, reportage, biography, anthropology, culture, human rights, and the natural world. We will also consider selective works of national and global significance.