Poetry: Drowned

In my last essay, I mentioned the manmade reservoir in my home state. This ghazal is about that lake and what lies beneath it.


When the Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Red River
between Texas and Oklahoma, four towns drowned.

Schools, houses, churches and gardens held their breath
beneath thirty feet of water before they drowned.

The cemeteries, the marked and unmarked graves, all drowned.
The dead shifted with the silt, where daily they drowned.

The grave marker of infant Johnny Parks was exposed in a drought.
When the water level finally rose, his memory was drowned.

I swam in that lake for years, unaware of the towns below me
being etched by water and microbes long after they drowned.

Some visitors tell stories of bones floating up like driftwood.
A man claims to have found a skull. He assumed its owner had drowned.