water rights

acequia flowed
into his pond too long—cops,
short landing in jail


In New Mexico (and the Spanish/Hispanic world in general) acequias are manmade canals that channel mountain snowmelt to farmland at lower altitudes. Property owners either have water rights or not.

The way the system works in New Mexico, owners of water rights are allowed to divert some of the acequia flow onto their lands, usually first into a holding pond, for a certain number of hours on a certain day per week.

This poem is about one of my neighbors, who, I’m told, forgot to turn off his water flow at the right time. He was reported by another neighbor (I’m guessing by whoever was next in line for the water) pretty well immediately. Water rights are serious business in the Southwest United States.


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