Road to Santa Fe*
Early north from Albuquerque
After miles of massive mesas
I slip inside the bones
Of glacial time. How flat
The great ice flow leveled
Clean these promises.
What alchemy of wind and rain
Cut Rameses' chin from the dust
With neck alert and throat intact?
What lapidarian carved epaulets
On his shoulders down to size?
What hot fist lifted up the hills
With such symmetric pinon stubble?
What fingers fashioned pectorals
Of the Sangre de Cristos? What
Suffering serrated faces crimson?
Near the silver feet of Santa Fe
The quiet ponderosa that ring
Arroyo Canyon stipple in the sky.
As sunset fades finches' wings
Snowfall so fine sprays Christmas
Down the hillsides. Calls of cold
Coyotes cease when the last
Car strafe dies away toward Taos.
I rise at dawn before the roar
Of traffic from the valley floor.
I can even hear the flit
Of rock wrens pelting air.
It's so still it's as if
All the ages of the earth
Are listening in my ears
For that first word again.
Jerome L. McElroy
*Accepted in The Poet's Pen (late 1998)