Tag Archives: Women Writing the West Poet

#197 Solstice Communion by Bonnie Buckley Maldonado

Voices bless a winter flower
of red and gold,
of chile and corn;
worn hands pass the first tamales
from the dented roaster.

Communion wine is New Mexican,
red as sangre.
Masa is the bread of life.

Days of solstice preparation,
corn hand-ground,
red chile simmering,
and pork roasting.

Grandmothers’ memories
soften hojas and whip masa,
soft as sugar.

Masa on a fan of hoja,
red chile and meat in center.
Tamales carefully folded.
Organic origami.

They rest on chips of juniper,
an offering to Our Lady,
to the coming of the light.

Bonnie Buckley Maldonado has resided in Silver City, New Mexico since 1959.  Her work appears in the Willa Award Winning Anthology, Montana Women Writers: Geography of the Heart. She was named Willa Finalist in Poetry by Women Writing the West for It’s Only Raven Laughing, Fifty Years in the Southwest, 2010, her fourth book of poetry. She is Silver City’s poet laureate.


#190 The Related by Page Lambert

Alone, far from home, my son said he cooked
the ribs, all of them, for two days until
they were white as stone, these pronghorn
bones, stripped of fiber and family, slivered
meat like flakes of obsidian, marrow
rich with memory.

While we talk I remember the Pueblo flute player
in Santa Fe pulling the rooted story of forest
from the wooden reed, how his people’s song
floated like windblown leaves, like the swift
running dreams of a hunter far
from home.

My son said the doe’s meat was
tender, that he used nearly two bottles
of barbecue sauce but only one bullet, he said
that the meat from her ribs alone would feed him
for a dozen days.

I wonder if he knows how his stories feed me,
how my milken memories drip like
resin down rough tree bark, onto the
cluttered forest floor, among the bent
needles and bristle-coned caches where
squirrels skitter and daylight fades.

 grew up in the Rocky Mountains and calls Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico home. Recipient of AROHO’s 2013 “Wise Woman Fellowship Award” and Colorado Authors League “Best Blog of the Year Award” for All Things Literary. All Things Natural,  her essays, poetry and books are widely published. She coaches writers, leads outdoor adventures, writing seminars, and enjoys keynoting. www.pagelambert.com.


#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.

#156 Fall in the North Valley by Betsy James

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.

#138 Legendary Tale by Joanne S. Bodin

Maybe she had a reason for drowning her children,
a reason only she could justify, to save them from
a worse fate. From servitude, from the hollow stares
of those who would surely see them unworthy of
their rightful place in a divided world
of cast and class.

Her legendary tale has survived centuries of
scrutiny, has twisted and turned into fanciful rituals
of fairytale lore, in dreams and nightmares of
children who stray too far away from home.
A warning not to let their imaginations lead them
into temptation, defiance, exploration,
or La Llorona will surely find them —
snatch them up as her replacement children.

So, beware of La Llorona. She lurks in the shadows of night,
in the still waters of rippled souls who
let her brush against their cheeks with seductive stillness. Her
specter lifts us out of dreary mediocrity into
mythological realms, as we sensationalize her story,
make it our own. Her shrieks, her wails, her angst
resound in sync with the melodic beating of our own
heart so that our children can dream of crystal clear
waters, starry nights, and mountain tops covered with sparkling snow.

Joanne S. Bodin, Ph.D., is a retired APS teacher.  Her novel, Walking Fish, won the New Mexico Book Awards, the International Book Awards, and was a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards.  She has also published a book of poems, Piggybacked, a tribute to her late grandfather.