Category Archives: Michelle Holland

#184 Approaching Another New Year by Michelle Holland

November airs the trees out of their leaves,
they end up crispy brown barely hanging on,
or as a brown carpet blown here and there
by the suddenly rude autumn wind.
Little stories end in this dire season,
or begin, just like any other time of year.
Take the small charred perfect aspen leaf
that drifted into our driveway
from forty miles away, down the mountain
on the winds of the Los Conchas fire.
Later, the dog we adopted, beautiful, wild
young Ridgeback, survived the fire as well,
escaping on charred paws to end up here,
to tame himself at our safe house.

Take each life that ended this season,
friends and family, and the intricacies
that twine together in eulogy and memory:
summer camps with cousins, Moonie wings
of take offs and touch downs. Those who survive
embrace the photos, and the smallest sequence
of words that bring everything back.
Take the threats to the broccoli, Brussels sprouts,
corn, and in the early spring, the strawberries,
all diminished by squirrels, or aphids and grasshoppers.
We harvested anyway. In December we are eating tomatoes
ripened in three weeks of yesterday’s news.
Now, on the easel a new painting of the heirloom
varieties that appeared from green to ripe like magic.

“Moonie” is a type of small airplane, like a Cessna.

Michelle Holland lives and writes in Chimayo, New Mexico.  Her books include the New Mexico Book Award winning collection, The Sound a Raven Makes, Tres Chicas Press 2007; and Chaos Theory, Sin Fronteras Press, 2009.

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#21 Empire of Dust by Michelle Holland

The water’s path etched patterns
in the arroyo, like veins,
like ebb tide and no ocean,
the glittery mica and black basalt
edging some of the grooves.

These are best to run on,
firm now, two inches of sand just
the day before the Sunday downpour.
Thunder and lightning, hail that shredded
the corn leaves and left the beets tattered.
Everything will survive, though,
and the thunder called the spade-foot toads out.

When I turned the corner to the dam,
I heard them, and smiled as a I ran.
Thousands of slippery creatures crawled
from the dry dusty ground
and waited for the torrents of water
to wind their rivulets and converge
behind the dam, fill the containment pond
for the first time since last October.

Water erodes the dust, exposing old bones,
cleaning out silted-in arroyos,
creating new paths.  The land and water
work together, regardless of culvert pipes
and bottom land.

I love the give of the earth
on the new moist silt run-off
from the surrounding mountains.
My foot falls gentle, the push off
into the next stride reminds
me of the ease of momentum,
the juxtaposition of dust and breath.

Michelle Holland lives and writes in Chimayo, New Mexico.  Her books include the New Mexico Book Award winning collection, The Sound a Raven Makes, Tres Chicas Press 2007; and Chaos Theory, Sin Fronteras Press, 2009.