Tag Archives: Memory

Desert Drafts


I have never been to New Mexico
red desert wide, skies high
above the mesa, the plains, soft
dusted cliffs, a black bird
flying miles away.
Consider: rock shale: arroyo:
names of things meant to evoke
dryness and height,
the image of a cracked white
skull nesting near a riverbed that
sees rain once a season.
I learn its strange geology:
Paleozoic and Mesozoic,
layers of minerals colored like
blood and oranges, pressed down,
and down and carved by wind
into mesas and columns where
palomino clouds compete for
the horizon.
I am interested in time.
I want to know how things
change, in the desert.
And I place stars on my ceiling;
with small globs of putty
I build constellations for you
the subject of my affection
to better understand what you see
when you close your eyes,
mine open in the dark,
both seeking something no
longer in front of us, the stars
not real except in the meaning
we care give them: recall a moonless
night in Galisteo, the wind warm
on your bare child skin: recall
stars in the river reflection,
pines, palms, an ocean in the
dark, my memories
now, yours too.


Continuing With Mountains…


My father took my brother and I
skiing: late at night we drove the eight
hundred miles north through pines
taller than a house. At least they
seemed that way to me. I was
seven and slept in the back
seat of the car. The windows had
a latch that popped open, a thorp and then
wind and cold and snow!
The Saab beetling into the dark.
Jim Croce on the radio.
I woke and the sky was green:
borealis lights finning above the
trees. The dome was paper thin
enough to push your hand
clean through.
Look, my father said. You may
not ever see this again.

In the morning we went up the mountain.
Strapped our skis on, found a
slope to use. Too small to go
alone I rode the lift with my father.
I have never been happier than
watching the earth pare away
treetops moving
complete silence and
cold. He told me how to stand
when we reached the top.
I never wanted to. I wanted
a way for us to continue rising
upward into cloud
snow and calm
a sky that could be green
(don’t look down, he said)