City of mountains, poverty, sharp sky, dry winds, floods,
old cars, carved doors, painted wood, knives, smiles.
Here the people are beautiful, but not the ones
who think themselves beautiful, not those faces that
do not want to age, that avoid color and experience.
They are not beautiful to me.
An old woman crosses a parking lot
to a shady wall, her body bent
like a question mark. In the street, los juvenes
hablan una insalada de espanol y ingles.
In a new place, the question I always ask is—
could I live here, write poems here, for example, in this place
where a poem is like a cactus flower?
Easy here to write: a silver moon, a turquoise sky.
I want you to know— there are place you can live,
and places you can’t. That old woman—
now that was a beautiful face.
A secret place
Yesterday, a Navajo park ranger (I can’t tell you where, a secret I need to honor, but out the “the rocks”) guided me to a giant boulder with a hole covered by a small stone. “Look in there,” he said, removing the stone, and inside was a petroglyph of a man playing a flute. “Two thousand people were here yesterday for Easter,” he tells me. He is picking up a plastic bag, an aluminum can, a wrapper, another plastic bag. I miss the point and say, “That makes me sad.” He says, “It was the winds. Things blew away. People had a good time.” He has no malice. He tells me two eagles come here, and two owls live in the trees. Sometimes he sees rabbits, sometimes a rattlesnake.All sacred things to him,
in the heart of
a sacred place.
© The Estate of Sandford Lyne