After 15 months’ hibernation, the tents
put up sail again—quietly at first. Then,
with weekend’s arrival, wayfarers’ feet
stir up dust on the disused path.
Chromatic colors of sneakers, strollers,
scarves, and baseball caps circulate
around flea market stalls. Even chihuahuas
appear, resting in the arms of their humans,
and a young child balances a piglet
in his arms as he examines handmade beaded jewelry.
We fist bump. We shake hands. And the conversation
is all: “You made it! You’re here!”
The smell of roast mutton and roast corn
wafts between stalls selling acrylic paintings,
gospel CDs, silver, turquoise, herbal remedies,
flour sack aprons, T-shirts, mugs, fossils, rocks.
At one stall a woman displays a loom
with her half-finished rug, reminding us,
perhaps, that the work is done, yet undone.
A stack of baby quilts is testament, not only
to long hours at home under lockdown,
but testament to hope.
At the Gallup Flea Market, the old blends seamlessly with the new:
the handwashing station, the newly built stage for country bands.
I buy baby quilts for two friends and leave before the dance,
but by day’s end, I scroll through photos of couples, dancing,
their eyes disclosing hope, the crinkles of their eyes, smiling.
The blue heron lives a solitary life,
or so it seems, perched on shore,
peering at its reflection,
like a chess piece pondering checkmate.
Then, in one swift
movement, swoops, lifts,
toward the wood,
only by the cry
of hungry beaks.
On the steppingstones that cross the creek
your boot left tracks thin as cat whiskers.
“Leave no trace,” they say.
And though, one day, we will leave no trace,
for now, we pack out trash
and secure our gear on limbs
sturdy as the saplings
the beavers gnaw for their lodge.
One day we will leave no trace,
but even so I like to believe
we will leave behind
something of who we were,
something of who
we hoped to be.
A flower’s a labyrinth
a log for a beaver.
A riverbed’s home
for the snowmelt.
The belled flower,
a beacon for the hummingbird—
who jostles among
but never visits for long,
who sips while suspended,
a flurry of wings,
who resists capture
even by photograph—
I came to a field
of flowers, seeking
nourishment, like a bee.
Those we love
never seem to know
how much we love—
The bee hovers over
the bee balm
the way I listen to
Einaudi, the way I
The tree offers shade
with roots deep
as mother’s love.
The tree shades us,
her leaves, a manufacturing
plant for chlorophyll
but even they, powerless
without the deep work
of the roots.
The roots never
upstage the leaves,
nor even the branches.
like the unsung toil
or heart’s muscle,
so much of
the work of love
I walked seven miles alongside
a creek. The stream ran on and on
over rocks. A squirrel clambered
over roots, rustling pine needles.
Wild roses lifted pink goblets
to the sun, rain drops shimmering
on fragrant petals. Nature
spared no expense. Even
the short-tailed weasels
popped their heads playfully
from between rocks and ran
in circles. I did not solve
any problems for the world,
not even my own.
But the stream rustled:
“Here I am! Here I am!”
And the bird sang: