|Jul/Aug 2016 Poetry|
Photographic Artwork by Victoria Mlady
—Taos, New Mexico
Snow drifts in from the canyon, dark swirls carried across a moon barely up. You wait all night in your rented room until just before the sun rises. A smudged light in the distance that fills iced-in puddles with orange. Then you fall asleep, losing the dreams about being left behind by people you've never met, but somehow know. When you finally wake mid-afternoon, the bone in your knee creaks and you hear faucets in the room upstairs hiss on. Somewhere a phone rings faintly and the staccato bark of a dog two homes down reminds you. Changing clouds filigree the stucco walls of the home across your pitted dirt road. Cacti are still barbed and sheathed in ice but sagebrush pierces the air clean. Your neighbors thicken the afternoon with gravy meat smells and wood smoke. From the window of your room, you see the mother with white hair that shines all around her face. You can almost hear the murmur and clink of their family language soft-droned through the steamed glass.
On other days you might stand out there next to your building, its adobe smeared with grime and dust blown in from beyond. They say if you stay long enough in one spot, alone in silence, you can hear a hum. A distant sound that never settles anywhere. So sometimes you do that but the only thing you ever find is your own blood coursing through you: a warm and anxious life. You think of your other home. The empty yard with a belly-sagged fence. Its window that still gazes through you. A shutter closing. Old photographs of being held. You've come here because inside there is a wheel that never stops. You've come here because all the time you think of running down a long, dark hall for the sudden white brilliance of any other place. But now, at day's close, long shadows are taking this rutted road. At its sloped-away edges, you can see the coyotes patrol and hunt near the yards. The doorway chile ristras sway in an increasing dusk that swells with light from your room and others. But it's time to close your blinds. Time to fold all those clothes that keep piling up or maybe heat some water for your tea.