Robin Chapman: "Provisioning, Moab, Utah"




Tradition, to stop here on the way

to the Green, provision

with sweet water from rock.

A faucet set in the canyon face

runs without ceasing, no handle

to turn it off.


We fill up every bottle,

bucket, jug, and water bag,

lug the precious gallons counting—

eleven days on the desert river,

seven of us, a gallon a day for each.


We handle the soft plastic bags

like babies, lay them

carefully side by side, watch

as dry air and sandstone

suck up moisture till we’re sure

no seal leaks, no pinhole drips—

this day and this day and this day

for each of us.


Though ten years later

when we stop again,

the stream’s a drip;

the aquifer dried up.



Robin Chapman’s most recent book is Abundance, winner of the Cider Press Review Editors’ Award. A new collection, The Eelgrass Meadow, is forthcoming from TebotBach. Her poems have appeared recently in Poetry East, Prairie Schooner, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. She is recipient of the 2010 Helen Howe Poetry Prize from Appalachia.