#127 At the Edge by Ellen Roberts Young

Beyond sand
stirred by
many feet I
step carefully,
called,
not invited.
I can name
few plants,
don’t know
which seed
rides my sock.
Quail
know me
as stranger.
Roadrunner,
rabbit scurry.
Drawn out, I
can’t stay long.
This landscape
knows bone
and flesh
has no use
for names.

Ellen Roberts Young lives in Las Cruces, NM.  Her chapbooks Accidents (2004) and The Map of Longing (2009) are published by Finishing Line Press.  Her recent publications include Common Ground, Slant, Melusine and qarrtsiluni. She operates Kery’s List, a monthly list of literary events in southern New Mexico.  Her blog is www.freethoughtandmetaphor.com.

#126 Tears and Wood by Cara Fox

The Santos family comes to gather.
They have lost their Abuelo.
The one with crazy eyes.
Padre opens the sala for them
to sit, hum handed-down songs.
He moves the longest bench inside,
has Kaya set a bowl of drink
in their mourning room; it has fire
in it, the kind that makes large men
sway, sometimes shout,
smash cups to the ground.
Thirteen candles burn behind
the casket carved by a son—
the eldest living. Old man, dead
in a suit. Women of his family
touch his cheek for the last time,
quickly cross themselves.
Nod in chairs for hours. Rows of
tears, generations. And wood.

Cara Fox is a freelance writer living in Taos, NM. Her poems have been published in a variety of local, regional, and national journals and magazines that include Animus, The Dunes Review, Stuff Magazine, The Aurorean, Puckerbrush Review, The Café Review, Stolen Island Review, Venus Envy and Bangor METRO Magazine.

#125 Gathering Poles at Quaking Aspens by Gloria Dyc

Gathering poles for my coyote fence
I bend the leafless aspens, once gold
some break easily: these I take
But where there is pliancy in wood
there is still life, another winter
I leave these, and strip away the bark
from some poles scorched in a fire
and find the secret work of insects.
An ocean sound moves the forest
soon ice and wind will loosen roots

Twenty poles from Quaking Aspens
make for two feet of  fence
each year my roots loosen
In the stillness of practice
the bow of my spine is pliant
my pulse is an ocean: red, red
I travel in a vessel
made of paper and wood

There were four Buddhas
three had faces veiled by silk
One was prone, ready for birth
his carved ivory skin worn
 through centuries was like the
wood stripped of its bark
to reveal the secret glyphs of being
 
2.

I hear the coyotes taunting the dogs
as they pass through the arroyo;
the days shorten, the cries come earlier
I fasten pole to pole with baling wire
the fence wouldn’t keep coyotes out
but I have nothing to protect:
the practice is my winter count
When the moon unravels itself from the clouds
and floats on the clear lake of space
I think: this is how it will be in the end
a brightening of a candle in a paper lantern
and then a darkness lighter than light

Gloria Dyc is a Regents’ Professor of English at the University of New Mexico-Gallup where she gas taught English for 25 years. She has published in numerous small press journals and is forthcoming in the 2012 issue of GARGOYLE.  She is on the editorial board for RED MESA REVIEW.

#124 badlands of eternity by John Macker

-on the occasion of outgoing NM governor Bill Richardson refusing to officially pardon
                                      Billy the Kid.

con permiso, Billy,
one hundred and thirty years later,
we still count your unpardonable sins
on both gun hands,
your kind, senorita gnawing buck-
toothed smile killed,
and your victims
are no less colder or deader
for the experience.
A horse is good down to ten below.
In Anton Chico the land is flat, motion-
less,
inhospitable, and frozen but open-hearted,
hombre,
its adobe streets were full of love and snow
and long on memory.
That night, the moon alerted
the desert that your short life
was in eclipse, the winds shriveled
darkly at the horizon.
Now, you can ride out your coldest nights,
reins in your buckteeth
across these badlands of eternity,
Paulita clinging lustily to your gun belt,
the wind’s got your back-
Hell, Billy,
we’ve all got your back.

John Macker has lived in northern New Mexico on the Santa Fe Trail for over 17 years. His most recent book of poetry is Underground Sky. He is also the author of Woman of the Disturbed Earth among others. He has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes.

#123 Red Willow by Joshua K. Concha

So…did they really turn this village into a ghost?
Most days more visitors than living in the empty turtle shell
and swallows are flying low between Huakwema towards
Huama today, predictors of heavy
wet grey anvils that widen high, that we need
more than four cardinal directions to orient ourselves.
Where no one gives thanks for just one day,
a little piece everyday makes all the difference
in getting to the lake with flowers
in the greatest meadow
created for charm.

There used to be huge cottonwoods,
right by the Pueblo at the end of Veterans Highway,
around the old granary where summer shade was vast.
Now featured at the end of that paved corridor:
as much a bombed out structure
as any in Iraq, one small building in ruin
as traffic monitors spray down the fine sifted soil,
rake through ragweed
their motions smooth parallels
of leg and tool and arm.

Ceremony comes into the wheel when
quiet-time means nothing, doing
nothing at all, not even a little piece,
but a peace makes its way to the sleeping
earth needs no disturbance, no thanks.
The saw-horse whinnies, “The village
is closed!” to our cars.
But you can walk in quietly—
you must keep warm.

Rio Pueblo yawned its icy jaw wide—
awake. Red Willow sheds gray to green
and sisters with mothers ululate
quivering sounds of strength along
loins of sun and moon in a race.
It is the world’s heritage that
both make it across the track
to come back in a dance.

Joshua K. Concha lives and works at Taos Pueblo, New Mexico. He earned a Bachelor of University Studies degree from UNM in 2011. Focusing on English and Psychology, he graduated summa cum laude. He enjoys making jewelry, sculpture, watercolor, writing, and playing guitar.

#122 Firefly by GERALD HAUSMAN

The corn grows to make more corn.
The horse on the mesa, white sun
turquoise blue, roan red, no-color night.
The corn grows, old ones come
singing.
We listen, knowing
the old dance
ends in dark and light,
day and night
the flash of a firefly.

GERALD HAUSMAN was a NM resident for 22 years. He and Navajo artist Bluejay DeGroat often collaborated on published translations. The NYT Book Review called Hausman’s Tunkashila “An eloquent tribute to the first great storytellers of America.” Gerald lives in Florida and teaches a writing workshop in New Mexico yearly.

#121 In Corrales, Totem Ranch by Judy Fitzpatrik

After the rooster disappeared, the doves
refused breakfast.  Lined up along the wire
they watched me scatter scratch in a sweeping
figure eight.  Their eyes followed the swing
of my hand.  In each small throat
a coo waits.  Without the rooster’s crow,
there is reason to invite quiet.

In the back garden, moonflower seeds have sprouted.
The dog has dug up the purple robe
looking for a place to lie down.  Warm water
dribbles from a green striped hose.

These days I notice bumblebees nursing
at the hummingbird feeder; thin, curled leaves
on an apple tree.  Twice a day
I check the pepper plants for worms.
I know how long the yucca has been in bloom,
and when the first morning glory blossom appeared.

I walk slowly enough to see the world in detail.
I imagine myself some kind of older plant.  Like trumpet vine,
with a flexible stem that follows a rough adobe wall.
Or Spanish broom with prickly solid stalks
and small occasional flowers.  Not yet an old
gnarled cottonwood, but headed in that direction.

Judy Fitzpatrick most recently worked for the SouthwestWriters Critique Service. She taught continuing education writing classes for thirty years. Two chapbooks of her poetry have been published. These poems are from her manuscript entitled: Headed in That Direction. She lives in Corrales with her husband and a large 4-legged family.

#120 Borderland by F. G. Mulkey

(on the first anniversary of my death)

Sister moon,
enlighten hunter trails, guiding
pathways that challenge throughout night,
defending medicine on wings of prey,
if I go, let my fighting pony roam to
where legends cross the start of time
and travel the end of empires, searching skin
past those swollen rivers from mountain
storm, vision song,
if I go, wash the mud from my pony
and bake it in the sun, adobe bricks for
your doorway to enter each direction.

F G Mulkey has been published in many literary magazines. His forthcoming publications will be featured in ClockHouse Review in the summer of 2012. He has lived in Santa Fe and Albuquerque since 1981 with wife Jan, and currently finishing his new book of poems titled, West of Night.

#119 El Chupacabra by Catherine Ferguson

I hung from the iron bar on the swing set,
stepped back, the bar hit me
above my right eye–
stitches. How could a metal tube dislike me so?

The chupacabra yelled
when my sister and I were silly about the toothpaste.
He pulled me off to the bedroom.
Thunder.

I am being taken to another country
in the back of a truck driven by the Chupacabra.
It is unlikely that I will find a place to stay.
Hitchhiking becomes a question of where to sleep.
I get so tired and even though the Frenchman
kissed me, he is not my friend.

The scar over my right eye heals
and becomes part of me. I do not realize my friends are high.
I don’t really get anything about money or drugs.

The Chupacabra got me pregnant.
I’m working at the gift shop.
As always my waist is pushing out the band of my skirt.
I hit my stomach hard.

The scar becomes my face.
I was so looking forward to picking grapes
in your country.
Even now my nightmare: not knowing what I’m doing
in a place.

It could have been me or the Chupacabra.
But I’ve never been drawn below that thin line.
I don’t swim there.
I like my feet on the ground and a cat
at the foot of the bed.

Catherine Ferguson is a poet and painter. Inspired by landscape and animals she creates watercolors, oils, retablos and poems that express her love of nature. Catherine is the author of eight chapbooks.  In 2007, she received the New Mexico Book Award for The Sound a Raven Makes, with two other poets.

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