Just below the sand there’s water.
From our apartment the view is khaki,
Every shade of washed-out yellow.
Even, most days, the sky.
If water isn’t brought in, only sand,
The occasional Goosefoot, Judas Tree,
The sand even too mean for weeds.
Yet below the surface, water.
I know this because they are attempting
A building next door.
The ground’s been dug 40 feet deep.
It fills in hours with brack.
They’ve installed pumps, back to the sea
One supposes, a mile or so off
The haze-lost horizon.
They’ll cap the edges, concrete the floor,
Drive columns of steel deep into sand.
The building, like the one I live,
Will go up, but in the mind, having seen
All that water, it’s a tenuous foothold.
Between the ropes of roads tying the buildings together
Are vast empty lots, void of plant or tree,
Just sand that drifts and pools, laps the roads
On the windy days, but mostly, in the manner
Of all backwater, lies still and stagnant,
Pounded flat by sun.
These buildings then, 30 or 40 or 90 stories,
Cling to sand and water.
The people compartmented within, staring like angels
from their glass clouds
upon the barren earth below.