Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cliff Dwellers

The searing sun shines, bronzing the bare breasts
Of women walking warily, grass skirts
Shift, swaying on their hips and showing thighs
With every forward step. The cliff face falls
Off to their left and rises to their right --
They do not walk with fright or lonely sighs.
The stone encloses the cliff's weathered faces
To form the family homes that face each other
Across the canyon. Mother, brother, all
Can face each other, read the petroglyphs
That spell out each dark spirit-loving space
So each can trace each other, spirit mother
Protecting corn crops, pine nuts, the rare fruit
Available in this dry desert if
You want to work to leave a legacy
That lasts in this bright echoing cliff aerie
Now ghostly silent. Serpents, lizards lurk
Here now, but nothing else. I walk along
Where pinon farmers played and prayed and failed
To change with their environment. the sun-
Bronzed breasts are gone -- the guests who visit here
Are covered up despite the heat. Where have
These people gone? We do not know. But if
We see here what they've done, I'm certain that
With work we'll learn how we can wax and grow.

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