Horses graze, moon-rise
Red rock buttes cast golden glow
Silence, stillness, peace
Take every feeling that fights
its way in, capture it, lock it up
inside a wooden box with a skeleton
key. Everything I feel is my enemy.
The soldiers of sadness of fear of regret,
they fire their weapons of emotion if
they get too close, leaving me with holes
clear through. Every shot means
one more piece of me on the ground.
I have no weapon, so I arrest them as soon
as they appear. There’s a tiny prison box
for each, so sadness never speaks to hope,
and guilt will never hear from pride.
Boxes line my walls, reverberating
cries, but I stand guard, in case more feeling
come by, for I already have too many
Red rock buttes rise from the parched landscape, dotted with desert
junipers and naked bushes. Stacks of small red stones echo
walls that rise in crimson suddenness between arid, windy flats.
This is Navajo land, with no fences. These massive rocks that rise
like statues carved by wind and light, belong to them, and seem to bear
a message, a code that speaks to them. I hear it in the chant of our
Navajo driver who names each rock formation. The light balances;
there is no randomness in the soft landscape and massive
red rocks. The Navajo understand.
The old barn tell is telling stories that might not
be true. Its roof is sagging, shingles
dangling, half bare really. Overgrown
pine branches have settled on it
like tired arms, dropping pine cones
to roll into random piles in the golden
grasses below. A red barn once, it now
shows faded, ruddy patches between wooden
boards, worn free of paint, soaked in
hues of mossy green and gentle brown and beige.
The old barn watches with window eyes that tilt
different ways, the kind that watch, that have
seen seasons of sadness and years of abundance,
eyes that don’t close. The mouth is that door,
scratched and worn, knob broken off years
before. It never quite closes, and always seems
to whisper as you pass. The old barn is telling