He washed that cucumber as lovingly as a mother would wash a new born baby.
The bucket was old, how old I can’t even guess.
It was a well bucket that had a ring forged into the handle.
And the water was reverently used so as not to spill a single drop.
In an instant I observed a lifetime.
A farmer who had to go to work for the post office to support his family of 14.
A postmaster who had to farm to keep his children from going hungry.
A life of dreams and aspirations never realized.
Yet resentments never materialized.
In the caressing of a cucumber.
Tomas Urrea is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico where he has not yet lived his entire life. He is an
educator/farmer/beekeeper. He is married to Valerie, and has two beautiful daughters. Tomas can usually be found in his backyard studio writing and sampling his homemade mead.
I know where my roots entangle
in red flesh, green skin
of northern New Mexico
drenched in el sangre de Cristo
I know where my roots knot
in sand banks of that central artery
twisting south, sinuous metate
grinding cobbles into manos.
I know where my roots entwine
en los camposantos, tenacious*
as dilapidated flowers twisted
around hand-hewn headstones.
I know where my roots melt
like candle stub offerings
in nichos and hermits’ caves
merging into rock and clay.
But, should I forget
flocks graph the way south
in aerial hieroglyphics.
Gnarled cottonwoods point.
I know where my roots are
Eyes closed, in the dark,
I feel the pathways home.
Follow the heartline
through the mouth
into beckoning light.
*Spanish phrases: el sangre de Cristo, the blood of Christ; metate, large grinding stone; manos, hand-held grinding stone; nichos, niches; peregrina, pilgrim; en los camposantos, in the graveyards. Underpublished. Appeared in April, 2000 in Herland Anthology, No. 2, limited edition (100) by Harwood Arts.
Elizabeth Ann Galligan grew up in Albuquerque, and has retired to her city of choice. Her poetry and first novel, Secrets of the Plumed Saint, 2012 are inspired by the glorious landscapes and diverse people and cultures of New Mexico.
Plunging toward the dark.
The sun does not wake me.
The blue grosbeak in the ditchside elm
sings with his back to me.
In the drained acequia
the stranded crayfish
withdraw their mummy bundles
to the last pool.
The cottonwoods weep dry leaves.
I put on a sweater
and leave the doors open.
The geese come back,
vigorous and big,
beating their wings, low
over the bent sunflowers.
Betsy James is the author-illustrator of twenty books and short stories for adults, young adults and children. She has lived in New Mexico–rio arriba, rio abajo–for almost forty years.