A journal of narrative writing.
Arizona Ruins

Past Mogollon River

            the limestone ruins

scrape it with your finger

                        and the floor breaks


                                    The talc

                        must have dusted

            their dark

bodies as they squatted on these

            floors grinding

mesquite and creosote


No one knows

            where they went

                        from the cliffs

            with their

                        earth jars and sandals


Or if they

cursed the

            desert moon

                        as they wrapped

their dead


                        in bright cloth

                                    and jewels




Now cliff swallows

            nest in the mud

                        where the Sinaqua


                        until water ran out


High in these white cliffs

            weaving yucca and cotton

                        How many nights did they listen

                        as they pressed the wet

                                    rust clay

                        into bowls

            they walked

200 miles to trade in Phoenix

            before it was time to leave


40 years

before Columbus




Noon in the



            it is summer the

                        children are sleeping


The women

            listen to a story

            one of them has heard

            of an ocean


                        Deerflesh dries in the sun

            they braid

willow stems

            and don't look up


When she

is done

            they are all

stoned on what could come

                        from such water


It is cool and dark

            inside here


                        This was the place




The others

have gone to find

salt and red

            stones for earrings


                        The children


climb down


                        To look for lizards

            and nuts he


            takes the girl he


            for the first time


                        Her blood cakes

                                    on the white chalk



                        Her thighs


                                    will make a bracelet

                                                in his head



Desert bees

            fall thru the wind

                        over the pueblos

                                    velvet ash and barberry


They still find


            buried in the wall

                                    a child's bones

                        wrapped in yucca leaves

                                    and cotton


bats fly thru the

            ruins now

                        scrape the charred

            walls white


                                    The people left

                        the debris of their lives here

            arrows, dung

                                    And were buried

                        with the bright

            turquoise they loved

                        sometimes carved

               into birds