Monday, October 11, 2010

First in our Dia de los Muertos Literary Series: Poems by Amalio Madueño


I thank my dead abuelitas while driving
Thank them both when alone on the highway
When I sense their care in snowshreds
Streaking an iced arroyo, their cold observance
From a feathered ridgeline of dormant encino
Their admonition in distant windshield flash
When the grasp at emptiness becomes a feast
When the solution of dream’s puzzle makes me smile
In small roadside confessions I thank them
Watching over me and my skimpy prayers


No maps to celebrity graves here
Heaven is a wisp of cloud in high blue
What stays: frayed Norteño Catholic trinkets
Metate stone too heavy to carry anymore
Ojas, red plastic flowers left
By Sunday’s devout – remnants of early winter
Luminarias, matachine fringe, icons, solstice

Day moon above Truchas cools the llano
Honing seeds, sliding easily behind
Headstone wind shaking weed whips
Hardened species settle scores: ocate,
Osha, white sage, ocotillo
While in the earthen chapel Guadalupe,
Sedate in her nicho
Scares up spirits from the aisles


on your way across Pima County’s basin & range
you tread through the home of the devil fish
you’ve heard of its uniqueness & believe its
2 inch tenacious silver chubby spined body
& “superior” mouth with tricuspid teeth can stand
Quitobaquito warmspring’s triple ocean salt
you can’t see him until you step on him
buried in the mud the little devil feels your toe
& reads your beating heart you must go
way across Sonoita Flats & the organ pipes
to see his orange-red tail-flash
he can’t trip you or swallow you up he is
that extra thing dormant in the muddy ooze
of the Gila & Santa Cruz as Spring approaches
the little carajo becomes an iridescent blue
& yellow Diablo waiting for you down below

Copyright 2010

Amalio Madueño is a poet from New Mexico and author of "Lost in the Chamiso" (Wild Embers, 2009) and co-authored of "Taos Poetry Circus: The 90s" (Pennwhistle Press, 1999).

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