The mountains are pasted blue cut-outs
on slate. A jet shears the periwinkle
clouds chalked above the dense peaks.
I carry only a shard of cold rock
in my hand.
Birds wheel lazily toward the pockets
in a spruce's limbs and I wish
for such a pocket at night.
Above me, a slim shard of rock shows
in the sky.
The chapel compelling my neighbors is dark
and the tall trees guarding its far lawn
whisper incantationsan unwatched grove.
A stream rattles through the ditch, a tap
Nigthwinds, escaped from the canyon
above the boulevard, finger my hair;
I allow that, walking away thought.
The crystal heats my hand like a phallus,
I move it from palm to palm while I walk,
turning my hands as magical as dreams.
The moon sears the sky, a white ember now
in my eyes, and exposing only a sliver
of unknown rock.
Stepping from the car into slush,
the toes of my boots
sink into pink dust
that transforms to slush again.
somewhere crickets doze
under heated stones.
I fast-forward Navajos
on footage shot last summer,
wondering which tribe slashed
its victims' upper arms
before stabbing the heart
my childhood nightmare.
I crouch on an overhang
under a windslicked ledge
to finish my grandmother's song
until the semaphore turns green
and I peel around the corner,
late again for my son's baseball game.
we stopped north of the reservation
to tape a roadside inferno, not ours.
afterward, breakdowns pursued the van
a pack of rattle-mouth skinwalkers.
running hard and late all day, we walked
one night awake with stars flashing
crystal and garnet, a rainbow round the moon
above stone sentries breathing dark.
outside a female hogana navel in field
and skyas foreigners we waited passage.
inside its weave, the medicine man talked us
from our world into his and staked us there
withholding unearned vision, saying come back.
oh, we left tracks everywhere, like leaf and lizard
on sandstone, our every wish indelible and known,
our cameras full, our plans and maps windlost.