burning, great pillar of smoke
Rises over Espanola Valley out the Sangres.
Woodcarver I know distantly--friend of friends--
Is quoted in the newspaper
"They told us to go, and we went
There is only one road out
And we took it." I can't help but wonder
If it is harder
For a santero to watch the forest burn
As if a crowd of unborn
Saints went up in smoke
Including Santa Barbara, protectress against lightning,
San Isidro who plows the fields with angels.
For the saint is already in the in the wood,
Gnarled pinon or twisted juniper.
The faces in the knotted bough
Peer out for those who see them.
Higher up, at 10,000 feet
Its late spring, not yet summer
Where aspens, pale sisters almost leafing green
Seem to drift
Through the pointed firs
is what appears in the dream
Both for good and ill
What is exposed
When the sea recedes
Here in particular
In the tidal pools
Hermit crabs turning over empty moon shells
(What is this little moon with feet and claws?)
What I wanted from you--
Well, you wanted the same from me--
That was my good luck.
Certainly the children enjoyed
Running to scare the gulls,
The subtle appearance of tiny fish in the weed
And the thirteen year old girl
Collects the hard ectoskeletons
Of creatures that keep outgrowing themselves.
A ghostly moon hangs halfway up
Like a reminder of something undone
Or a worn almost transparent negligee
Hung on the line to dry.
You can see a dark horse and rider
Trot delicately across the sandbar
Or a many many masted schooner
Which by some temporary trick of light
Suddenly has too many sails to count...