THE VENTURI EFFECT
You may have thought, from visiting art shows,
that canyons squeezed together on their way
downstream. No. That’s only perspective. They
in fact, as any hiker my age knows,
spread out and vanish. Their canyonness goes.
Their vital currents pool up, slacken, splay,
their tall red hoodoos melt into flat gray,
the bankside cottonwoods go, nothing grows.
This one the same. Far downstream now, my feet
have brought me where I see the end. No foam
from water straitened, focused one last time
by rock walls aping art, trying to meet,
but alkali-white flatlands, killdeers’ home,
walls gone, speed gone, all low that was high prime.
—from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Tribute to the Sonnet
Donald Mace Williams: “I couldn’t remember the name of the effect that has to do with the speeding up of water when its conduit is narrowed (and therefore the slowing down when the conduit is widened), but a niece of my wife’s who is a hydraulics engineer helped me with the term. Other possibly pertinent facts are that I live close to Palo Duro Canyon in Texas and am 80 years old.”