runs deep for those who have
been to the well, drunk,
or stood at the brink
to see their family
stone fall, and falling
never to sink.
If wishes were children
we wouldn’t cry for
what is spilt or raised—
in this case a bucket
of dried tears.
Now is your pail emptied
lately of its dead
weight, leaving you all
skin and bones
Now, when you let down
your long hair, it twists
like a rope.
–For Creig, who died in a fiery crash
on icy roads, 28 December 2008
Our dad flew me over litter lying
around unclaimed like lost children’s luggage,
all balloons and kites, the glitter garbage
of some foiled contraption or fool “flying
machine,” that famous accident splattered
throughout the Roswell Daily Record. Strange,
but true, my baby brother’s brain deranged
when it crashed and burned, his memory plastered
that night along the route Roswell’s “rat-pack”
drove like hell through: Hub Corn, Ragsdale, places
right out of Scariest Police Chases.
Their blood’s as black as tar, said Cactus Jack.
The very thought carries me like a dream
from Albuquerque to that pillbox town
where you, my milk-faced moon, hung upside-down,
circuitous with eyes, return to beam
me up. I thought you were a shooting star
or weather balloon made of Kryptonite,
but the way you zoomed from then to tonight
makes me wonder now, brother, who you are.
They give a bad name to motherhood—
these bundles of joylessness, yearning
for more, twisting in their brushed cotton
gowns, turning, turning, and returning
lately, only to be forgotten.
Their failure to flourish sends a flood
of tears upon the mother who would
rather roust them out of her head
than trust their refusal to be good.
She finds herself sleepwalking from bed
to chair, postpartum place of mothers
worn to a nub—no, two!—from baring
her bosom to the little grubbers,
her twice-slit gown opening, sharing
herself with them, her own flesh and blood.
In New Mexico
hummingbirds hover, tasting
flowers with their straws.
We wait for no rain:
pale pink eyelashes,
mascara blue clouds.
Wild nights! Dustbowl days.
Cottonwoods torn limb from limb
haunt our xeriscape.
Like us, they rattle
dry bones against adobe
walls, settling down.