creative ramblings & reverie

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Writing Spaces

What better place to write the desert landscape, rock and bone and light?

image:  Georgia O'Keeffe House, Architectural Digest

Carrying Chili from the Desert

I lift out of a bed of swaddling shirts
the packages of red chili
I’ve brought out of the desert
like religious relics

to cook with garlic and oregano,
cumin, round steak.  It is a ritual
I learned from my Norwegian mother,

well beyond her blasphemy by now,
the quitting of her people
who exalted the pale purity of butter and
sang Onward, Christian Soldiers as a single voice.

I will grind the pods, feeling the burn
of the red skin and seeds on my fingers—
their rasp when dry like desert snakes

a kind of phantom pain, the sting
that is remembering hers those last years,
on her own in the stark foreign land

far from the dairies of Wisconsin,
the mild sloe-eyed butter cows,

that finds its way into whatever I write now.
A kind of holy writ
with fire at its heart, fed on the tinder
of the cottonwood crosses the Penitentes bear.