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Saturday, February 18, 2023


by David Chorlton

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said Maricopa County has the legal authority to temporarily provide water to residents in Rio Verde Foothills. The City of Scottsdale cut off Rio Verde residents from its municipal water supply last month in an effort to conserve resources. Because Rio Verde is located in an unincorporated area, Scottsdale officials have argued that the city's not responsible for providing water service. —12News, February 15, 2023. Photo: A water hauler set up hoses to fill the tank for a home that is listed for sale in Rio Verde Foothills outside of Scottsdale, Ariz. Water prices have tripled for some residents of the unincorporated neighborhood. Credit Erin Schaff, The New York Times, January 16, 2023

Broken cloud and pigeons overhead;

a hummingbird inside her nest

at the neighbor’s fence; Valentine’s Day

approaching and the wind

is circling her tongue in the mountain’s ear.

Word crackles

                          through the neighborhood

with news of police cars at Ranch Circle

and Thirty-ninth Street with tape

as yellow as front yard desert marigolds.

Maybe it was suicide

though some say dementia

but only the moon was watching

the man go into the pond.

                                                 The bookmakers

are busy preparing for tomorrow’s game

while the odds favor hotter

than usual days in Arizona come July

with a little comfort falling

as monsoon rains, even on the million dollar

homes in Rio Verde, 

                                     north of rush hour

traffic, master-planned for golf and scenery,

where life would be perfection

if only one could drink

the swimming pools and bathe

in Chardonnay. 

                            It’s late afternoon

back here on Walatowa; shadows float and soften

on the rocks; the mail van’s late;

starlings mob a suet cake and lost cars

circle the cul-de-sac in endless

search for the meaning

                                            of life with the brakes off

hurrying to find the answer

before the sky runs dry.

David Chorlton grew up in Manchester, England, in a city known for its rainy days. After some years in Vienna, Austria, he came to Phoenix and adjusted to the desert. His newest book Poetry Mountain owes much to the part of the city he lives in now, with a view of a desert mountain to soften the impact of the city.