no flower burning the lining of her heart
not even a prayer
more of a curse
building inside the lining of her throat
inside her mind the white gown is brown from weeping
tears drown the moon
her mouth spits electric eels
skin of her face scalded
she paces the river
the sound of her body is a mourning dove
killing the night
wanting to be free of herself
she blows the wind of her weeping into the village
a painter wakes with a start
draws a scream on his canvas
sunflowers wither in night’s garden
she keeps drowning her babies
splash against mud
can never say I’m sorry
can never sleep
the mad yip of coyote is her company
thunder claps on Black Mesa
scream has turned from sunflower
splitting the seams
of her breasts
Catherine Ferguson is a poet and painter. Inspired by landscape and animals she creates watercolors, oils, retablos and poems that express her love of nature. Catherine is the author of eight chapbooks. In 2007, she received the New Mexico Book Award for The Sound a Raven Makes, with two other poets.
There is a place where dogs lay about in the warmth
of November sun. Where a stream catches shards of light
before reflecting them back up into the cottonwoods.
A place where dwellings quietly crumble into the dust of centuries.
Where wooden crosses grow in their Spanish garden.
Where the forbidden welcomes only those who understand.
Where piñon smoke wafts and curls its way to join
white clouds in a brilliant blue sky. Where the old ones
peer out of soot-darkened corners, their gnarled hands grasping turquoise
like old cedar trees holding together piles of rocks.
There is a place where countless footsteps catch countless more.
Where silent hawks circle high above; their spirals pulling spirit into the sky.
Death is always nearby here. I come here to die, as I have before.
To shed the unnecessary things, to waste away until
the dust swirls by to gather up the pieces of old skin I’ve left behind.
There is great sadness, as alcohol leaves strikingly handsome
shells of bodies propped against the wall outside the Taos Inn,
their spirits caught somewhere between the neon and starry black sky.
There is unspeakable joy as the very young dance with the Earth.
And laughter as cars wait for free range steers crossing dusty roads.
There are green chilies, blue corn posole, and Silver Coin margaritas.
Michael’s Kitchen, and Charlotte’s fetishes at Bryan’s Gallery.
Cottonwoods I count on being there as I counted on Ruby
the bookstore cat being there until she went away to the sky.
Taos writers, painters, artists—my heart, my soul, New Mexico.
Dee Stribling is a writer of poems and prose currently living in Hillsborough, N.C. For many years she has spent as much time in New Mexico as possible. She is currently working on two poetry chapbooks, a memoir, and a documentary.
Every night, Juan Perea becomes
a cat. He inserts borrowed eyes
into sockets, and on the table,
rests his eyes in a saucer.
Assuming cat’s tail, body arch,
he tiptoes between houses.
He recites hexes burned
like cooked cat bones.
He delivers curses to neighbors—
worms poisoning food, mice growing
inside stomachs, the stealing
of a man’s beating heart
until the morning he returns home,
drops to his knees before
the upturned table, hungry dog
devouring his eyes.