The smell of pinon, pungent
as chile, follows me down
Old Santa Fe Trail.
Sand blows across the road,
settling in my hair like stardust.
Sage and chamisa wave
at coyote fences, colored
by hollyhocks, lavender.
Behind them, cottonwoods
and the soft curved shoulder
of adobe wall.
From a coven of churches ring bells
that stop my thoughts, tender
solace to sinners–so many places
to pray. Tewas and Hopi offer
turquoise and dreams on altar
cloths beneath sacred trees.
I enter their temples. Crow Mother
rests on a branch nearby, gifts me
with corn for my faraway garden.
Leaving behind shops of art
and trinkets, my feet slow as sun
beats a past-noon descent.
Sky is high desert blue.
The air, wrung dry, shimmers
with heat, ancestral stories.
I feel the old ones stir my heart,
their whispers, my pulse.
Carol Aronoff’s poetry appears in numerous journals and anthologies, including Comstock Review, Poetica, Mindprints, Sendero, and Iodine. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee. The Nature of Music was published in 2005, Cornsilk in 2006, Her Soup Made the Moon Weep in 2007. Blessings From an Unseen World is forthcoming.
My friend, Annie, is a rock hound. Not the my-dad-bought-me-a rock-kit-when-I-was-eight kind of person, but a genuine hard piece of the earth fanatic. Her den looks like a mining expedition took over that part of the house. Annie’s unwavering enthusiasm finally persuaded me to abandon my usual Saturday slothful ways and join her on a hike through the juniper-piñon canyon of Rio de las Trampas. After a fifteen minute clamber, passing what I hoped was not bear or mountain lion droppings, we came upon an unexpected sight. A Noel Langley landscape. We found ourselves at the bottom of a boulder-lined bowl created by retreating glaciers. Thousands of rocks were stock-still, frozen in mid-tumble down the hill. The sight made me feel small and vulnerable. I was hesitant to move lest I remind gravity of its job. Annie picked up a piece of stone and rubbed it in her hand. It sparkled like an Oz slipper. The shadow of something large flew overhead as Annie and I collected samples of milky quartz, granite, gneiss, shale and pyrite. We picnicked near the curious formations, and let the sweet air and sun work its magic on our tired brains. Yellow yarrow lined the way to a spiraling waterfall roaring down the ravine. When it was time to head back home, I didn’t want to go. On the steps of my apartment, I pulled out the stone Annie had pressed into my hand as a keepsake of our adventure. It was broken off from what it once was and heavy with the weight of wear, much like Dorothy on her return to Kansas.
Lori Romero is winner of the Spire Press Poetry Chapbook Competition for The Emptiness That Makes Other Things Possible. Her first chapbook, Wall to Wall, is published by Finishing Line Press. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize.
La noche es un mundo que la misma noche alumbra*
— Antonio Porchia
Over desert grass and creosote bush, clouds
glide as giant monsters, and soon the stars
will cry in glittered protest. They snake
by feet of constellations kings and warriors
who cavort the forest black chasing dragons
and demons of mythical night.
From amphitheater hills, I watch the stars
blink in and out of clouds as if a toreador
flicked his cape in front of charging bulls
that kick up stardust into Orion’s eyes.
But soon the creature will depart. So let it
swoop and hide unfolding dramas in the sky.
It’s only for a little while, the heavens declare
there is no need to shoot the fiery darts
of city lights and risk the piercing of the heart
*Night is a world lit by itself
John C. Mannone has been nominated three times for the Pushcart. Recent work appears in Conclave, The Medulla Review, Rose & Thorn Journal, Hinchas de Poesía. He edits poetry for Silver Blade, teaches college physics in Tennessee and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. Visit The Art of Poetry: http://jcmannone.wordpress.com.