all the pastel

the crew of smoky gray cats (how at first it’s four, then five, then six)
gathered outside the cholla cabin
three on the picnic table, one on the bench,
one hidden under the cabin steps
and one perched on the porch railing
and how the two on table are licking clean the third (who sports gold spots)
the silver of the can of beer in
in the hands of the biker-dude character
who lounges in the shallow coolest hot pool
in the clothing optional area
sometimes you think it can’t get any worse,
and then it does
we joke in the parking lot
about another one of hazel’s hilarious bumper sticker/life sayings
as a rainbow comes into sight
in the new mexico sky
the lightness, the ease/bendyness
of this post-hot soak body
as we walk the sidewalks of hatch new mexico
where the streetlamp decorations of glittery tinsel (snow people and stockings) creak in the wind
and where we find a small library
whose sign we take a photo in front of
on the infinite tour of small libraries
oh the sky
oh the mountains
oh the adoble and all
the pastel colors
we move through
see you next year i joke with liz and debbie
on teh phone as we pull out of the postcard town
of truth or consequences
where the thrift store that appeared open as we rolled in
was closed upon our departure
which is probably for the better anyway

this sense of not being ready yet
for unexpected encounters with the past that might whip around the corner
at any moment
(the food co-op for instance, or the pho place just down from it,
or even the walmart where i was almost hipchecked all the way across the store,
or the banners in the sun attached to that one church/santuario)

the glow of farolitos
lined up on adobe rooftops
soft spots against the dark of a moonless night
as we roll into santa fe
i’ve seen this before
smell of piñon smoke
threaded through the dusky air
as we emerge from her car
on alto street
sweetness of spiced cider
(that we learn suffered a clove spill
but was rescued with tangerine juice)
whose scent winds itself through the kitchen and living room
of jacks and katy’s place
to live up to potential,
to move forward
i write on the scrap of paper
as we gather around the smokey backyard fire


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