We Drive From Santa Fe to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs
in a waning crescent moon, highway wider than last time,
sky lit more by casinos than a moon and stars.
At Espanola we turn onto Hwy 84, catch a glimpse
of the Delta Bar, but the neon’s off on a Monday night
in winter as we look for a drink, never find one,
turn around, go back to Hwy 285 and when I ask
if we’re lost, you say, “No, all roads lead to Ojo,”
as we drive into the desert looking for your past,
a Dutchman’s Mine of memories after we cross a bridge
over the river your family waded, after we drive around
new construction of casitas with private soaking pools,
after we stop where springs run back to the river, sky a casino
of chance and new beginnings if we gaze at it long enough.
But it is cold and standing in one place is hard, so we take off
to the old hotel, first time you’ve been back since you lost
this place in a takeover no one saw coming until it was down
to your shares and an uncle too old to care about what money
brought, and you fought and fought until you could not come
back even though one of the perks was a lifetime of access,
a lifetime of soaks, a lifetime of room and board, which I think
about as we sit in the lobby near the fireplace still in coats
and hats trying to get warm, find a key in the lock of one
of the rooms down the hall, and you turn it as if it’s been left
there waiting for your return.
One Day After the Solstice That Was to End the World
Breaking in a new pair of hiking boots when I phone,
I can hardly make out your answer, keep saying your name.
Finally you reply it is Zoe. She has to be put to sleep. I ask
if you need me. You falter, “Yes,” above the swell of river.
I ask about the trail to your house. I start up, a bushwhack,
climbing almost vertically, grabbing limbs of small trees.
Foolish, but going back down would be worse.
Up has always been easier.
I scale the first top, your house two cliffs above the river.
New boots give bravado, worth what I paid for the ascent.
I show up bloody, apologize for how long it took.
You’re carrying a wicker basket, blanket on top.
I ask to wash my hands, regret the timing of the request,
the Mayan end of days, a change Zoe not meant to make.
The souls of animals debated by theologians, but not today,
not in the aftermath of the solstice moon.
Yellow and Pink: Elegy for Jackson C.
Yellow breasted finches at the sunflowers,
ones that come to Staab St. in Santa Fe—
yellow of yarrow,
yellow of the beginning of the turn of aspen,
a green lost to too much desert light.
But there is also pink this year—
pink of hollyhocks, cotton candy pink,
Ride The Pink Horse pink,
Zozobra’s gloom not yet here,
all those scenes in La Fonda,
old Harvey House hotel,
and in the warren of streets
of this 400 year old town,
the gloom of 50s B&W B-grade films
that is not a gloom as Zozobra,
not an old man consumed by flames,
but the idea of a man who will not die,
who wants to deliver one more line
from the films he spent a life inside.
He’s there on the edge of screen
like the cameos of Hitchcock.
I can hear his take, his compare and contrast,
his “You know he played in another film”—
an offering that at the center is pale cream;
then proceeds out until the flickering red
is of a movie run through the projector
over and over until it bursts into flames,
and the theatre goes dark,
and we sit in silence,
filing out when we’re absolutely sure
it will not begin again.
Kyle Laws is based out of the Arts Alliance Studios Community in Pueblo, CO. Her collections include This Town: Poems of Correspondence with Jared Smith (Liquid Light Press, 2017); So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press, 2015); Wildwood (Lummox Press, 2014); My Visions Are As Real As Your Movies, Joan of Arc Says to Rudolph Valentino (Dancing Girl Press, 2013); and George Sand’s Haiti (co-winner of Poetry West’s 2012 award). Granted two residencies in poetry from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), she is one of eight members of the Boiler House Poets who perform and study at the museum. She is the editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.