Monday, June 29, 2009

One More Poem


How we know them without seeing:

I am looking down, fingers tight at the weed root,
pulling. The sting of the June sun migrates,
shoulder to shoulder and then, as if laying down
their white palms, a chill starts, each bead of sweat
refrigerates, and I tilt nearly to earth. And I dream

of that summer, of blonde best friend Elizabeth
from Massachusetts who stood at the window
of our little Santa Fe rental spouting ohs, crooning
their multitudinous shapes: battleship, behemoth,
woman giving birth, chess pieces marching across
the western sky. Or the shadow that crawls across

the book I read for hours then sleep to, then wake
in fear, knowing a spider is crawling over my hand
but no, just the shadow of a cloud I don’t have to
turn to, relieved. Or I am standing in the kitchen

and evening descends in the middle of the day
like a whale-bird, an unexpected lunar eclipse
till it moves on and the sun cocks its head
toward the world again. And I don’t have to see,

and it is enough to watch them in the mind--fat,
white, mansion-like, cut-out against the wide
New Mexico blue, tumbling over the Sangres

in the summer afternoons, in droves, like they have
for millions of years and will, sometimes with rain,
sometimes swift, sometimes just floating pure
pleasure into the sightless hearts of children.

Valerie Martinez
copyright 2009