As the decades-long drought bears on,
Lake Powell’s bright white
bathtub ring stretches
and waters evaporate.
Lake Mead reveals secrets:
a body in a barrel, bones washed up on the shore,
a wrecked B-29 bomber,
prehistoric salt mines,
an entire ghost town, homes for the freshly
discovered human remains that likely migrated from
early days of a mafia-run Vegas.
In the dusty lands of the Navajo Nation,
a native squeezes the final drops of water
from a plastic jug, wondering
when the next delivery truck will arrive
from the white lands surrounding.
Not enough water in Italy’s River Po
to contain the WWII era German tank or cargo ships,
not enough water remining to allow cargo ships of today
to bring necessities for those depending on
In Rome, the River Tiber opens waters to reveal
a bridge built during Emperor Nero’s rule. Is this
the “Bridge to the Twenty-First Century” I heard
tell of twenty years ago?
On the Spanish-Portuguese border,
the abandoned town of Aceredo
has returned to the surface
as the Alto Lindoso Reservoir fades away.
Along Spain’s Iberian Peninsula,
the Dolmen of Guadelperal exposes itself,
a stone circle from 5,000 BC,
affectionately known as Spanish Stonehenge.
In Serbia, a Nazi warship peeks
out of the Danube, then another,
then a fleet entire.
Along Germany’s Rhine, hunger stones
from yesteryears—1947, 1959, 2003, 2018—
issue a warning of the scarcity to come.
Iraq’s drying Mosul Dam Reservoir brings to light
an entire city from the Bronze Age,
a 3,400-year-old gem from the Mitanni Empire.
As China’s Yangtze recedes, an entire
island emerges, complete with ancient
statues carved from stone.
Park visitors in United Kingdom’s
Crystal City can walk along the dried
lakebed and spy old dinosaur sculptures,
fish out of water.
Real dinosaur tracks, fossilized,
trudge from water in Texas, revealed for
the first time in 113 million years.
The necessity of water is so real you can taste it,
but there’s no denying the beauty of natural wonders
revealed, the marvel of ancient discoveries reclaimed
beneath the surface of falling waterlines.
People are thirsty for water, not discoveries.
The Sinagua and Navajo would drown the mafia victims again,
the dinosaur tracks, ghost towns, even the wonders,
for running water, still water, delivered water.
Driving a rented Skoda, you and I visit
the national park we remember from our last
visit to Croatia, and we find that our off-the-beaten-path
waterfall is nowhere to be found. Has it
evaporated, or can we simply not find it?
A personal loss, worthy of
The hair is the first to grow.
The salt-and-pepper business cut
filling out into a lion’s mane,
gushing down the head and over the shoulders
like a SWAT team’s repelling ropes over a fortress
during the raid on an out-of-control dictator
threatening our nation.
Then the facial hair,
from stubble to beard to lumberjack
to mountain man,
the picture completing when cooler weather places
unbuttoned flannel over T-shirts
and introduces fire pits for poking.
No need to phone it in
when an IM or email will do.
Work becomes remote,
audio calls and screen sharing
the new team huddle.
The need to appear disappears.
No necessity to go out, no reason to drive,
hermit life made not only bearable—
The pandemic drives us into
our isolated caves. Gives us an excuse
to be what we want to be.
Eric D. Goodman lives and writes in Maryland, where he’s remained sheltered in place for most of the pandemic, spending a portion of his hermithood writing poetry. He’s author of Wrecks and Ruins (Loyola University’s Apprentice House Press, 2022) The Color of Jadeite (Apprentice House, 2020), Setting the Family Free (Apprentice House, 2019), Womb: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing, 2017) Tracks: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books, 2011), and Flightless Goose, (Writers Lair Books, 2008). Learn more about Eric and his writing at www.EricDGoodman.com.