Jane Mead is the author of four full-length books of poetry, most recently MONEY MONEY MONEY | WATER WATER WATER, from Alice James Books. Her poems have been published widely in anthologies and journals and she is the recipient of grants and awards from the Whiting, Guggenheim and Lannan Foundations. She has taught at many colleges and universities including Colby College, The University of Iowa and Wake Forest University. She now manages the ranch her grandfather purchased in the early 1900’s in Northern California, where she grows zinfandel and cabernet wine-grapes. She teaches in the Drew University low-residency MFA program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation.
Someone had the idea of getting more water
released beneath the Don Pedro Dam
into the once-green Tuolumne,—
so the minnows could have some wiggle room,
so the salmon could lunge far enough up
to spawn, so that there would be more salmon
in the more water below the dam.
But it wasn’t possible—by then the water
didn’t belong to the salmon anymore, by then
the water didn’t even belong to the river.
The water didn’t belong to the water.