Levi, Ephesus; Pueblos
Saw her come up starved
and brittle from the seawall,
fledgling ghost, cloud of horses
with mouths adrift, beset
by devils as she’d ever been.
She held a child in each eye—the two
who would have leapt up singing
into your arms to call you theirs.
Four summers since I’d spied your ardor
in the river Yarden’s sand, face
of human birth revealed, wave
arriving at her shore. Two springs
since we watched her vomit
at the hill, soldiers’ molten eyes
appraising, Kefa, viper, spitting, Whore.
She may dream it in another
mind, but she knew nothing
of this earth, was nothing
to the earth, wrecked and hollow
when I lifted her across
the Ephesian road. Nowhere
it made sense to set her down: this
not our country, and you not here
to beautify the girl again.
The Expedition of Don Juan de Oñate, Acoma, 1598
Came carnivorous and linear
as they always come, opaque
in Spanish robes, cross-burdened
in otherwise ecstatic
pagan desert of collided moons,
Anasazi loops and waves, mesas
mushroomed up from earth
and down from sky.
Haak’u: a place prepared,
The Tourist Comes to the Second Pueblo
Blue soup at Zuni, television blue,
mute, shadowy adobe,
another altar after lunch and I
was open as I ever was, in bloom
six months, insomniac,
taken aback to find that I was
that kind of flower, that such blooms
exist at all but still I was
in love, nectaring up
to the sway of things: sky red,
eyes shifted, something slipped
aside, surfaces slid up, revelation
day and night, sky-writing, letters
on walls, drift of shapes and sparking eyes,
bird-wing breezes on my cheek and the one
quiet voice, constant, tender, salve.
Showdown at the reclaimed altar:
circle of witnesses, spirits
of another nature named me, tested
how I saw, consulted above kivas,
to their satisfaction,
my capacity for love.