#178 Lady Brett’s Cabin by Lou Amyx

My dear Virginia, where to begin?

The weeks since our arrival have been consumed
by joyous toil: coaxing a home from these homesteader’s shacks –
hardly more than stacked planks of handmilled Ponderosa –
rooved only by rusty sheets of raucous tin. How we scatter
the many-footed creatures that inhabit them!
A kind strong woman and two sunblackened men
churn straw and mud to plaster, split shingles and fence rails,
fire bricks, horseshoes, corn, and pillows of lovely warm tortillas.

We are all
hammering and painting and building our Rananim.
I find myself, at last, most comfortable here. My cabin has a chair,
and a table for writing, a teacup, saucer, and kerosene lantern.
My closet is a chest beneath a narrow wooden bed for one.
Three windows. The north is filled by the back of the Lobo,
arching skyward from where we ride the mountain’s shaggy flank.
The south descends into the infinite – the mysterious colored desert.
Today I tracked the roving dust of David’s climb up the Kiowa trail.
From Taos, he brought a darling woodstove, a mirror, and the mail
with your letter. Behind him, pursuing cloudbanks raced across
the windlashed plain – now my easel holds a harlequinned herd
of furied horses, sulfurous lightning streaking white
from flaming hooves and flaring nostrils. In this moonlight,
the empty Angora meadow gleams as if filled with the clean backs
of a thousand newborn lambs. Our gigantic pine claws the full face
of the passing orb – the tree spikes the heart of our flying planet,
and about it we spin – the whole wide earth and me where I stand,
turning and burning and turning around it.

Join us, but arrive prepared to be changed. I work for hours
with fervent inspiration, but never a moment’s desire
to breathe again the rancid air of London. I will not
be returning soon. Perhaps ever. There. I’ve said it.

Lou Amyx’s poetry may be seen in The Arena, Naugatuck River Review, Tidal Basin Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume IV: Louisiana, at qaartsiluni.com, melusine.com as the winner of the 2011 Vivienne Haigh-Wood Poetry Prize, and soon in Sugar Mule. A chapbook, The Bracelet, is available from Finishing Line Press.


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