Raisin City Water-Faucet

By Stephen Barile

There is a well,
a submersible-pump,
pressure-tank and archaic
brass-faucet

on the end of a steel-pipe
sticking out of the ground
at the south extremity

of Raisin City Park,
a triangular fragment of land
at South Henderson Road,

West Bowles Avenue
and an oiled-dirt alley
next to the Raisin City Market.

Hard to call it a park,
Bermuda-grass is sun-burned,
The ground is parched.

A half-dozen trees
along the alley’s edge
all in need of water.

Defiant fan-palms
stand dry and drought-tolerant
where the roads meet.

No one living nearby
wants to pay the power-bill
and run the pump
to irrigate the dry sward.

After a long workday
in the summer heat,
pickers from adjacent vineyards
who think water should be free

gather in a makeshift line
to use the water-faucet
in the enlarging circle of mud.

To drink as much as bathe,
wash away the grime
of grape juice and dirt.

*****

Stephen Barile is a Fresno native and a longtime member of the Fresno Poets’ Association.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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