#160 New Mexico Exile by Elizabeth Ann Galligan

I know where my roots entangle
in red flesh, green skin
of northern New Mexico
drenched in el sangre de Cristo
 
I know where my roots knot
in sand banks of that central artery
twisting south, sinuous metate
grinding cobbles into manos.
 
I know where my roots entwine
en los camposantos, tenacious*
as dilapidated flowers twisted
around hand-hewn headstones.
 
I know where my roots melt
like candle stub offerings
in nichos and hermits’ caves
merging into rock and clay.
 
But, should I forget
flocks graph the way south
in aerial hieroglyphics.
Gnarled cottonwoods point.
 
I know where my roots are
Eyes closed, in the dark,
barefoot peregrina,
I feel the pathways home.
 
It’s simple.
Follow the heartline
through the mouth
into beckoning light.

*Spanish phrases: el sangre de Cristo, the blood of Christ; metate, large grinding stone; manos, hand-held grinding stone; nichos, niches; peregrina, pilgrim; en los camposantos, in the graveyards. Underpublished. Appeared in April, 2000 in Herland Anthology, No. 2, limited edition (100) by Harwood Arts.

 — 

Elizabeth Ann Galligan grew up in Albuquerque, and  has retired to her city of choice. Her poetry and first novel, Secrets of the Plumed Saint, 2012 are inspired by the glorious landscapes and diverse people and cultures of New Mexico.


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