Vegetation became too scant
For their stomachs, and they began
To die. They fell where they grazed
And became part of the landscape,
White bone like dust. First the rangelands,
Then the cultivated lands had collapsed,
And what was left, hard-packed earth,
With dried-out tufts of dead grass,
Was not worth the blood shed.
The snow on the mountains,
As thin as the hair on his head,
Made a mockery of the dwindling
Hope he clung to. For fifteen years
This drought persisted, with nothing
To show for it. No one would buy
His cattle, they were so thin and sickly.
To fight the powers-that-be was to die,
To fight the elements was a fool’s errand.
Everything and everyone was against him,
He believed. All he could do was hold on,
Until there was nothing left to hold on to.