#93 Red Willow People by Devreaux Baker

On the side street behind the tourist shops
magpies gather in the park,

black and white syllables broken off
from the mind of the mountain.

Turquoise spirit and coral heart,
Jocelyn paints pueblo dreams,

scratches out symbols of white
on blackboard.

Ancient frogs circle the edges
in this dance of the Red Willow Clan.

White field, yellow trees, blue sky,
everything becomes one thing,

settles down inside the hand
holding the brush above the canvas.

In the distance, the color of trees, impossible red,
moves closer to my body,

begins to build willow nests in my chest.
Branches put out leaves, slide into this place

called heart.

Devreaux Baker’s book of poetry, Red Willow People, received the 2011 PEN Oakland Award. She is the recipient of the 2012 Hawaii Humanities Council Poetry Prize and the Northern California Women’s Global Leadership Poetry Prize. She has received poetry fellowships to Hawthornden Castle, MacDowell and Helene Wurlitzer. 

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