#186 ACOMA TALE by Faye Snider

Shadows faded as a desert breeze,
seven thousand feet above the sea,
hover over this sky isle village
of thirty-six families,
three murky cisterns, two trees,
a cluster of quarter-moon outhouses,
flat adobe roofs—some sporting
wood stove chimneys.

Artisans at doorways stand at tables
filled with pots,
most machine-made-white,
hand decorated. I search for the rare,
rose hued & hand crafted—colors
birthed from ground herbs & flowers,
pulverized charcoal.

I’m drawn to the husky timbre
of a woman’s voice. Her eyes
flash as she holds up a six-inch clay pot.
She points to its thunder bolt “for energy and life,”
a float of clouds she names “a boundary,”
the round-backed jet bear “for food and skins,”
a tiny hole “to store seeds.”
She cushions the pot in the palm of my hand.
It rattles the sound of rain.

“How much?” I ask.
The man by her side steps up,
collects the money, wraps the pot.
Left wanting, I turn back to the woman
who digs & hand-coils clay,
creates pigment to paint her tales.
“Thank you for your story,” I say.
She nods, the fire in her eyes flown
on silent wings.

Faye Snider turned to writing poetry during her career as a clinical social worker/family therapist. Post career, she received her MFA from Pine Manor’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing. A New Mexico enthusiast, her poetry and personal essays have appeared in the Ibbetson Street Press literary journal, Alimentum and Sugarmule.

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