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Montana Prayer

I come to you
so oftenIMG_4523
broken
mute
dark
and at my worst:
day
by
day,
the wind
clears
my fears,
the river
cleanses
my rigid
knotted
body:
ice cutting IMG_1565
flesh,
the moon
lulls my soul
the stars
fall
and I sing
my best
lullaby
a long
tune
that echoes
past
the highest ridge
past
the many years
past
the lost dreamsIMG_3851
past
this
same
moment
over and over.

You’ve heard it all,
silent witness:
and yet
you embrace me:
ponderosa

Red-tailed_Hawk_l07-52-061_limg_9173
sage
aspen
wildflowers
wrens
hawks
antelope
elk
deer
coyotes,
and so much more,
you gift me.

You lull me
in your embrace
wind
blowing
doubt
into
the darkest cave
lost
in the deepest gulch
swirling
in years
of dust.
You are
my soul place
where
I find
my voice once again,
year after year.

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Morning fog
lifting
riverIMG_1255
sheen
gold
sunlit
caddis
frenzy
rippling
lapping
hurling
waves
stop
at my feet:
water,
purest
mother
bless me
I come
as friend
naked
of intent
no rod
no boots
no net
2 dogs
and
worn feet,
brittle
calloused
bruised
free
at last
from
a
long
dark
darkest
winter.

Let me
feel
swirling
cold
numb
these
silly
polyps:
strange
seemingly
useless
appendages
suddenly
delicate
sparkling
dancing
gleaming
over
rounded
river
stones.

Dogs
dip
snouts
lapping
clear
purest
snow melt
shake
coats
reflecting
morning
summer
light,
eyes
darting
scanning
then
stop
waist high
lifting
earsTrumpeter Swan, Colony Farm Regional Park, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia
frozen.

Six
I count
luminous
glorious
royal
regal
white
long
necked
trumpeter swans
alight
mid river
graceful
note
fallen
from
the sky:
a Russian melody
come south
to stir
these
winter
sullen
dogs –
yet
they hold to:
their tails
pushed
by
the currentTrumpeter Swans
frozen
at
the sight.

All
three
we stare
as
they
lift their necks
black beaks
shimmering
gliding
wings
wide
breaking
the river’s
loud song
with a trumpet call.

This breaks
the trance:
the dogs
are off
the spell
broken,
my feet
numb.
Behind me
I hear
rustling:
red winged
blackbirds
loud
in reeds
and rushes,
just past
them
I see the full moon
finally
setting
behind
the bench.

 

 

I came to find you,
padre mio,
here in these
eucalyptus
tallIMG_0789
fragrant
elegant
long
at dusk,
a dog’s
bark
echoes
deep
in the high valley,
the wild grass
hides
nighthawks,
and
winding creeks.
The rains have
come and gone,
the corn is high
and mouths are fed.
Here the rules
are simple,
plant,
sow,
pray
and drink chicha
on Sundays.
Walk to town
in your best colors,DSC00591
greet the neighbors
and share a tale
a meal
a smile
or nod,
but home by dusk
to close the gate,
feed the dogs
and wait for
the stars
to unfold
their stories
in the night sky.

Down in town,
the smell of Sunday
ajiaco:
still fills the night air,
and slowly
the music fades
at the plazita
as the musicians
trail up the hills
by the light
of the moon :
the last cumbia
still droning
in their footsteps….

I came
a child
clinging
to some unseen hand
eyes closed
holding
an unheard wish,
a simple
prayer
on my lips:
somewhere
many years ago
I lost my way.

Small girl
raven haired
olive skinned
staring at glass
and metal
towers,IMG_0677
anchored
chiseled
hard
by grey winters,
speaking
a learned tongue,
but in my dreams
I heard the
softest
tones
soothing
me to
peaceful
sleep.

Woman
mother
grandmother
all in one:
bearing the scars
of another country
I came in search
of my soul:
for so long
I walked
determined
I had it right,
but
I had it wrong.

You cannot
unmake
who you are:
what is in your heart
and blood,DSC00609
no matter
how thick the disguise.
In these mountains,
I see myself
reflected
back over
centuries
I hear my hidden
language
in the songs
the children sing,
and in the eyes
of the old men
I recognize my father.

“Tonight,
my father wrote:
I could write
the saddest poems
for
mi hija lejana” –
but here
in this rich land
as I walk
past fields
churned
by horse drawn
ploughs
same as ever,
I smile
to know
I am finally home.

 

 

 

Gray skies
flowering trees
watery days
oleander blooming
lilies opening
ravens chasing
a sullen red tail
dipping
swooping
dog sleeping
like winter
never left…..
Stove glowing
squirrel staring
tail balanced
hands to heart
a nibble
a walnut
you gift
on the fence
a lost ray of sun
glazes it
shimmering feast.
Geese honking
river rising
clouds shifting
day ending
night beginning
years passing
dreaming
or
remembering
your sweet
savory
scent
when you pressed me close:
mother’s milk.
Waiting
hoping
praying
for the new girl child
you’ll not see
but only feel
from the shadows.
Bless her
with
garlands of eucalyptus
from the Andes
may she sing
in sweet tones
of her ancestral tongue.

In your name,
I’ll touch silver
and champagne
to her lips,
but not before
honoring
Pacha Mama
a cold drop
touching
the earth.

Under the full moon
I stand
gatheringDSC00426
dreams
woven
long ago
into my spine,
stars
frame the lake
radiant halo
of tears
dogs
howl
stories
of broken
promises
land
broken
by the sword
and golden
cross.

Oh warriors
children
of the maize
gods
born
as sun
and
moon:
where
have
your songs gone?

The owl
screeches
from top
the cave
winging
lightly
over
sleeping
souls:
their dusty
shoesDSC00491
by the door.

Once these
diminutive
gentle
folk
worked
night
to day
and back
ran
rocky
hills
grew corn
laughed
happy
for the sun
the wind
stars
but most
of all
the sacred lake.

A boy was a man
when he could
cross
alone
in his canoe
the widest
length
of the lake:
loincloth
adorned in parrot feathers
bringing gifts
of sweet fruit
and precious shells
to his
one and only gifted
child wife
waiting
dressed
in fine
embroidered
skirts
the color
of violet sunsets
and tangerine sunrises.

Once they played
pok a tok
sang
from the heart
swam
at duskDSC00517
and slept
under these same stars.

You,
sons and daughters
created
from the lake
not of mud
or wood
but molded
from sweet corn.
I see you still
in San Marcos
carrying bundles
to market
on your
brightly adorned
braided heads,
or herding
goats
on the hillsideDSC00479
smiling
waving
gold teeth
catching the light.
I hear you
whispering
in Mam
Sunday morning
rushing
across the plaza,
the guttural sounds
echoing
on the cobblestones.

Two little girls
laugh
and saunter
side by side
toward the lake
three dogs
thin
and mangy
follow
tails low:
warm wind
blowing
morning mist
away
so they can
laugh
and build
castles in the mud,
adorned with stones
while the dogs
stand
guard.

Tonight
the lake
quivers
with stories
so many
and I hear…..

Margarita(for all my Portland peeps)
I’m done with the long
dark days
wet boughs
weighed down
daffodils
bowing
heads tipped
to the mud.
Green
crawling
tenuous
on the hills
smothered
by rain clouds:
somewhere
a flicker
screeches
loudly
voicing
what is in my heart:
done
so done……

Plodding the same
morning route
past rivulets
draining
into lush
rain gardens
and flowering
daisies.
It’s the rain
that brings
colorful
days
I tell myself:
be a glass
half full
kind of gal
I remind myself –
lift that head
toward the sky
and drink in
this wetness:
remember
that day
long ago
when you
ran
naked
free
wild
burning
desert
child
drinking
drops
sacred
lapping
tasting
clear
blessed
monsoon
rain.

Remember
be kind
be free
be wild
the heavens know best:
keep on keeping on……
sun is sure to come.

(for you dad, because you loved ravens!)
Ravens rule my hood:
Perched on the oak tree
whose branches
skirt the bedroom window
they bob from low
to high
their pitch
changing
as fast as this
early spring sun:
high
low
high
barely a whisper
hoarse
dense
light
here now
gone in a flash.

In early morn
they cackle
rattle
shriek
trying
to shake
a solid beam
of warmth
down to their
purple black
cowls:
ruffled
from the night air.

Its the break
of dawn:
humans lay wrapped
in the night warmth
of the hearth,
squirrels curled
nose to tail
in nests
deep in hollows,
a dog beside
his human
stretched
in dream bliss:
all one long sigh
of dark silence-
till the dreaded ravens’ call –
all at once,
stirring traffic
summoning loud
garbage trucks
speeding cars
breaks screeching
children rushing
and the indeterminate clanging
of a million
city sounds.

They rule the roost,
ring the bell
run the show
wear the pants
and they know it.

The dog rushes out
his nose
reading
sordid
night tales,
snout high
sorting out
the details,
tail swaying
in the morning mist,
they swoop
down
landing
close
but not too close
suddenly silent
marching
side to side
in that menacing swagger
their beaks
black
and hard
as African ebony,
jabbing at the wet
muddy earth,
parading
always
one step ahead
curious
playful
scornful
of the sad
domesticated
creature.
They let the dog
have his silly
moment of glory
let him think
he’s chased them off –
and sit on the fence
watching
him lift his leg
under their roosting tree,
marking
what they know
all too well
is their territory:
later in the afternoon sun,
they’ll laugh
in scorn
loud and free
from the highest
branch
and close their
beady eyes
to the world below
confident
spring is sure to come…..