At The Wall
Many silent women bent at that black altar,
their arms unable to curve around its huge weight.
She held the unbroken silence, not breathing.
There was a certain quietness to names carved in granite—
gray, red, or like this—mirror-black.
She reached out, touched her reflection in the stone
his name beneath her fingertips.
Cold shocked a small surprise of breath.
She stared back from the granite—lost—
wished on a present of small flags
like candles someone had blown out.
At The Ranch
Deceptively slender mesquite, feathered to resist both desert
and wind, weightless enough to stir in mere light,
casts a bony shadow. Soil here is not one thing, but millions
of small bones, easily unhinged by wind, rain, spades.
Her knees do not bend so easily, nor do the hollows in her cheeks
and heart fill in a season of sifting. Breath is not drawn with summer,
like August storms. Beneath her hands, the sands of their crumbled bed
grain her minutes into the restless eons she cannot gather.
She kneels beneath the crooked mesquite under a clear winter sky—
with grandmother, mother, brother, sister—
and asks to close the circle. There is only granite.
A red-tail wheels overhead and stoops in a comet-like arc
his shrill cry and the breath of his passing
stir the veil of limbs.
Published in “H.O.D.” (Handfull Of Dust) October 2013