Radio Free Santa Fe

Pecos River
late autumn light reveals
few remaining wildflowers- stubborn wooly asters
purpling the highway shoulders,
inking the evening sky, Indian blanket
warming the ground
blinding gold of globe willows & cottonwoods
sharp against juniper blue landscape;
aspenleaf & ochre chemise stalks play off
the surrounding pinyons

In the dimming of the daylight, we see pronghorn
antelope huddle close at the cattle fences;
the last light of day reflected in their eyes,
highway lights illuminating long lashes

In early November the Pleiades
are strung low in the eastern sky at dusk;
the stretch of road between Albuquerque
and the Continental Divide climbs higher in elevation
ahead of us, and we are thrust up into the tight
cluster of these seven sisters
dressed to the nines, dripping in diamonds,
they have taken up viola & cello to accompany us,
unearthly chamber music on our night drive into starry arpeggio.

Their plaintive string passages echo long into the night;
sorrowing with Nick Drake on his gorgeous Way to Blue,
moan & wail like coyote howl with Beth Orton on
She Cries Your Name; they weep as they parse out Beware of Darkness
for us, and I wonder if our beloved George, in his merciless illness,
might not also be somewhere in the Sangre de Christos tonight,
communing with the shamans, searching for a healer.

Finally settling into a motel bed after midnight,
our backs press up against one another;
there is comfort & support in the familiar frame,
the slow lengthening of two spines beneath night’s flannel.

Go and tell Lord Grenville that the tide is on the turn