Guest Poem by Mantz Yorke

Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England. His poems have been published internationally. His collections Voyager and Dark Matters are published by Dempsey and Windle.

A Gambler’s Lot

For now, he’s got water – enough
to keep the grass green – though no permit
to sprinkle his lawn in daytime’s heat.

Las Vegas as a whole is less accommodating:
to save water, grass is being gouged
from its medians and roundabouts
and further restrictions are coming down the pipe –
but he knows saving a little water here and there
will merely be a gesture
because drier winters have thinned
the Rockies’ snowpack, the city’s supply
from the Colorado is a fifth down in twenty years,
and Lake Mead is at an historic low.

A city founded on this arid land
was always a gamble: early wins
financed huge investment in the desert sand,
but how long can the lush golf courses
and the gondolas on the fake Venetian canals
survive water shortages
and summer temperatures exceeding 40C?

His own gamble has paid off so far
with a residence in a prosperous neighbourhood,
but he’s begun calculating the odds
whether he should hold, or fold
and sell his property well before it’s reclaimed
by sidewinders, scorpions and tumbleweed.