#88 Among the Willows by Wendy Brown-Báez

We turned to each other
on the bank of the Rio Chama,
you wrapped in a shawl woven
of rainbows and grief. Your long hair
rippled in a dark wind
as you removed your clothes
to plunge into its icy waters.

You shivered next to a memory
of a campfire, coals scattered to the
four directions, a smell of
tarnished sins. You cried out
to the spirits of the canyon,
stone-shaped ancestors, silver sage.

We turned to each other and
an ancient flame as quick and
golden as sunset lit your hair.
I touched your solitude for a
brief moment. I heard our names
whispered by the branches
of the old gnarled trees.

Wendy Brown-Báez is a writer, teacher, and performance poet.  She has published poetry and prose in numerous literary journals and is the author of the poetry books Ceremonies of the Spirit and transparencies of light. Wendy began performing as part of a Santa Fe women’s group called Word Dancers.

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#32 Heartbeat by Wendy Brown-Báez

In Mexico a tourist asks me directions in Spanish
but I feel like a gringa,  pesos shining through my pockets

when the old man insists I buy his matches. “¡Solemente
cinco pesos, cinco!” He thrusts the tiny box in my face,

stubbornly ignores my refusal. The postcard arrives two weeks
after I have returned to the place that comforts me

from divorce and despair. I left for promises,
to escape my fate but I am eased by gentle-breasted

mountains and sangria sunsets. I am a connoisseur of
chili, complain of plastic farolitos to replace brown bags,

experiment with herbs and acupuncture, salute spirits at
solstice, walk down sandy arroyos prickled with

bleached bones that deepen into sculpted canyons.
By piñon-scented fires I inhale the scent of her ancient

sun-scorched body, with the wind at my
back, I hear her gritty voice begging me to play.

—-

Wendy Brown-Báez is published in numerous literary journals and is the author Ceremonies of the Spirit and transparencies of light. Wendy began performing as part of the Santa Fe women’s group, Word Dancers and has performed in a variety of venues. She is the creator of Writing Circles for Healing.

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