On her 42nd birthday, as she drives home past bluffs and mesas, gliding
east of the sunset, which expands like a rose, she commands curves
of gratitude. Three decades as an adult, two divorces, one
unexpected child have driven her to this place where
four lanes thread New Mexico’s Badlands, and her life
winds northwest on NM 550. This moment, her heart expands
like the sky ahead into bloody reds and pinks and a soft yellow
highlighting the horizon. She cups this bounty. It is all
before her; it is all behind her. One man in a baggy jacket,
hands shoved into his pockets, walks the shoulder looking down.
He, too, is headed towards the night. After arrival,
she will transcribe the lines of the road into lines
of a poem and see letters coalesce into words.
She will greet stanzas, experiment with enjambment,
deliberate form. It takes four decades for this
confluence to occur–as transitory as clouds. Seventy-five
miles per hour reveals ideas born in places: canyon,
volcanic rock bed, sealed into black
waves, high plains desert silhouetting
a lone juniper, absentminded tumbleweed,
and, finally, the moon, blossoming into crescent.
Kimberly Mathes teaches English at San Juan College in Farmington, NM. She currently is pursuing a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas El Paso. In 2006, she was a recipient of a NEH grant which allowed her to travel through Central America and southern Mexico writing poetry.