LA SIERRA by Joanna Cattonar

Below Taos Mountain

I pray north.
I pray into the mountain.
Mist in the mountain passes, my prayer
rises in the watersheds and falls
along the ridges like rain.
My words waterfall in the trees
and pool in their branches.
Leaf after leaf gives way
and spills, an elision of leaves,
the sibilance of pain.
I pray into the clearing
of the amber dome
in a rainforest of jade.

The old one calls in the mountain,
cries out over this blue plain,
and I plead like a child
teach me       teach me
lend me the lion’s muscled patience,
the slow hawk’s measuring tongue
teach me
the pronghorn’s stillness,
the bear’s deep dream . . .

the old one calls in the mountain
cries out over this blue plain
adored child,
be attentive as you walk
yours the ear of the doe,
the feet of the newborn fawn
be attentive as you love

the feet of the beloved tremble
quick    in a run    dreaming
the moon climbs,
the beloved stirs
let my hands rise out of my hands
I call into the clearing
I call into the cold
My prayer falls like snow above the timberline

*underpublished

Joanna Cattonar came to New Mexico over forty years ago by way of a poetry residency at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos.  Her poems have been published widely in journals, most recently in Sinister Wisdom and Gertrude.


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