Tag Archives: New Mexico Poems

#180 I Would Rather We Ate Them by Page Lambert

Bittersweet, watching pigeons float
from the neighbor’s roof to my barren courtyard
in this new Santa Fe subdivision, lighting on store-bought bark
beside this transplanted Pyracantha, with its flame-orange berries
and stiff green branches.  Once, I did not know

That pigeons fed their newly hatched a creamy gruel—
from beak to beak the milk passes, those first few days—
from father and mother both, before flight feathers
unfurl, before the young loft and lift in search
of sprouting sun flowers and wild grasses.  Last spring

I leaned the shovel against the fake adobe wall where raucous
ravens, so black they were blue, paced less patient
than the cows my son once knew, even from a distance—each mother,
each calf, each face distinct. I spread fistfuls of store-bought topsoil
with my bare hands and did not know then that tax dollars, yours

And mine, were spent on poisoned corn, spread like candy
on courthouse rooftops, though not knowing had little to do
with the right or wrong of it. Too many pigeons
too much mess.  Better to haul their bloated bodies
to the landfills.  Too many to count,

I would rather we ate them—squab under glass, fed them
to our children at Thanksgiving, cooed back
at their cousins the mourning doves, perched two
by two on telephone wires that stretch, like a mother’s
longing, from Rancho Viejo to Ruidoso.

Page Lambert grew up in the Rock Mountains and feels at home in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.  Author of In Search of Kinship, her essays and poetry are widely anthologized. She has been leading outdoor adventures, writing seminars and workshops for 17 years. Connecting People with Nature. Connecting Writers with Words: www.pagelambert.com.

#24 Lessons in Purple Adobe Salma Ruth Bratt

Covet the peace of others
But not permanence
Permanence is not like adobe
That breathes air and water
That throws down bricks from the sky
That slips and slides its muddy way

Covet joy
But not permanence
Permanence is not like adobe
That perforates, permeates, performs

Covet fleeting moments
Permanence is for dreamers or drifters or bridge builders
Who imagine a legacy

Adobe is for the brave, the realist
Who knows how rain and wind have their way with us
How human creations come crashing
How they implode under a strange and mysterious weight

Salma Ruth Bratt is a second generation American with interests in the literature and linguistics of immigrants. She loves her family, traveling abroad, passionate readers and writers, theater, and the music of good listeners. Her work is often completed in collaboration with Moulay Youness Elbousty, to whom she is grateful.

#7 Desert Shrine by Sharon Niederman

The little shrine is still there
Five miles west of Socorro
On a dirt road through the desert
Suggesting respite on a harsh journey
Someone loved it well enough to spray paint
The doors gold, the rocks green, to entwine
Plastic flowers among the cholla branches
To arrange toy relics from a Mexican mercado
Neatly, carefully, on the barren ground
A cross stands here now, in remembrance of Edith Silva
And burnt-out votive candles fill a trash bag.
I didn’t open the doors this time
As we did on that October day
Curious, laughing, a little frightened
Handwritten prayers flew out
Carried away on the wind
I tried to catch them, to replace them
You watched, let them fly away.

Sharon Niederman is a longtime New Mexico journalist, novelist, photographer, and poet living in Raton, NM. Her most recent work includes: Signs & Shrines: Spiritual Journeys Across New Mexico. She is the author/photographer of a dozen books of NM travel and history. Her debut novel was published by UNM Press.