New Mexico

1. And when I turned to face the horizon, the horse nickered, shifted its weight, shook its shining mane, then slept. Ahead lay the swollen belly of New Mexico heaving into dusk, slithering home again in the breadth of a ragged breath. Sharp-shinned hawks soared beneath skeins of cirrus, circled their prey, eyed me as the intruder, then struck in silence. As soil and grass flew, voices of the dead joined in a chorus, “Woe to the mortal ones. The mountains will not cover them.” Shadows solidified in the western sky, dappled with beacons of our beginnings, eons passing, dark matter, dying stars. 2. Traveling south for months, baking under the swirling sun, gilded in sweat and hope, I confused dream with reality. Angles of decline overlapped, trapping my thoughts in time. Hungry, with only handfuls of grain, I knew the well-fed soul travels well into the beyond. How the buried silver in the hills would materialize toyed with me like a tyrant. I had left you north in Colorado, awaiting my rich return. Your face permeated my days like a pillar of fire. Smoke clouds gathered at dawn, shaping massive monuments of love that dissipated in the evening winds. 3. Scents lingered through the night, pungent and chilled, no longer fixed at a distance, no longer wild. Restless, the horse snorted me awake. No sun, no smoke, no embers glowing. Only calls of coyote, lonesome in the fields. I wrote your name in the fire's ash, scratched emblems of desire framed by your eyes. Boot prints erased the marks. Nothing holds in the dark. Soon others passed me on the trail, returning empty-handed. So many ways in, but only one way out, wretched and alone. Tomorrow, I will join them, if my luck does not hold. Digging for wealth, I translate it into your care. I must not lose.

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