by Maren Tirabassi
copyright © 2014 by Maren Tirabassi; reprinted by permission

The people wandered in the wilderness
and there was no water,
so they cried out for they were thirsty.
And they quarreled
and they were afraid
for their children and the animals
for they were very thirsty.

Then God sent Moses out
to strike the rock
and there was water from the rock
and there was life.

And now we wander in the wilderness
forcing water into the rocks
fracturing them,
with the staff of our greed
and we call them – wells.

And there is lead and uranium,
mercury, ethylene, radium and glycol,
methanol and formaldehyde
and hydrochloric acid.
There is natural gas and death.

And we are afraid again
for our children and animals,
for our earth and our groundwater.
We are thirsty
and call these places Meribahs
for here we quarrel,
here we have listened to God
like always, inside out.