sky song

5am woken
by stars so piercing
it must have been sky song
having first met the pueblos in
black and white pictures
stories (spoken)
and memoir (written)
i meet taos pueblo
for the fourth time
in the light of the lifting sun
coming up over the big mountain
amidst the vapor of our breath
toes cold and
ribcage rattling
fringe of women’s bright blankets/shawls
as they wave the dust road runners
(painted, ribboned and feathered) on
aspen branches
(yellow-leafed and fetched from
the mountainside)
held in elders’ hands
waved in wind to shuffle/shoo/encourage/bless
the runners along
so you’re a pastry girl
michael smiles
shuffling the plate of butter pats
to the middle of the table
smartass queen mara calls me
headed for the aspen branches
the corn makes it filling says liz
while we three tear off honey-drizzled
hunks of warm puffed fry bread
in the creek-edge shade
debbie turns to press cornmeal into my palm
says toss this on the ground
after he’s (be being the pueblo clown
who made it to the top of the 50 foot greased pole)
done doing what he’s doing up there
too bad we have to stand and
look at this horrible mountain i joke
half an hour into our waiting
for the shuttle from pueblo to parking lot
500 years old she says
about the current pueblo buildings
(soft edged and stacked
ladders propped to higher levels
small squares cut out as windows
hand smeared mud/adobe)
which are slightly to the south
of where they were built before they were destroyed
during the conquest(s)
liz and i cup palms around
twin porcelain mugs
steaming with ginger tea
(the real deal we call it
spice so strong it almost stings)
two questions debbie says
1. your family/parents
2. you’re such a find
why hasn’t anyone snagged you up yet


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