Well, this post is a bit late; it's a last but not least as I sit in a beautiful valley in Colorado; it's timely as we know all things change, even change itself. Jon and I aren't sure of what if anything will happen with the archives of the Ditchrider collected  over these abundant and tumultuous years. It has always been a pleasure to read new and old acquaintance's poems on this blog. And so I present a voice new to me, Ms. Janet Ruth.

Acequia in Autumn


Water running from the Río Grande

at the north end of Corrales is shut off,

remaining water flows away south

through the raised acequia gates

and back to the river.


Shallow murky pools linger.

Crayfish trail plumes of silt.

Raccoon hand and foot prints mark

the mucky bottoms of the ditch

like hieroglyphics.


Cottonwoods clad

in autumn’s golden raiment

cast reflections in the pools—

            a scattered jigsaw puzzle

            a shattered mirror.


Towering multi-headed sunflowers

            reflect the shape,

                        color, light of the afternoon sun

            as earth turns eastward toward night.

As I approach the root-bound solar flares,

golden petals take wing with querulous calls—

            goldfinches and siskins reaping

            the blackened hearts of the suns.


Soon puddles will evaporate.

Crayfish that survive raccoon’s fingers

            burrow deep into the ooze.

Mud stiffens, wind blows,

tumbleweeds pile against acequia gates.


I depart with the ditch water,

recede slowly toward winter.  As my eyes close,

images of another season drift in the darkness—

the bottom of the acequia dry,

a patchwork quilt of mud, leaves, and tumbleweeds—

as I dream the liquid whisper of return.

 * * * *



Alchemist’s sky

            transforms lapis lazuli into gold,

velvet terrestrial darkness below.

Albuquerque lights


                       like a rhinestone bracelet

            flung twisted

at the feet of the Sandias.


A sinuous absence of light

            slithers through the valley.

The Río Grande

            curves its serpentine way south,

                        sucking whatever liquid it can wrest

            from thirsty land.

Clear, thin liquor distills

            from the heavens, desert tears.           

Red bleeds from the Sangre de Cristos,

            brown drains from fields of beans and chiles,

                        sandy golden clouds filter down

            through arroyos and acequias,

like wine, reverse-transformed into holy water.


The river slows, meanders,

clamps its muddy jaws

            around fallen limb,

            abandoned barrel,

            wandering daydreams

                        of an unwary observer,

drags us all tumbling, bobbing,

            thrashing, and imagining

toward México,

            toward its alter ego—

                        the Río Bravo.

* * * *

Dreams of Fire and Water

twisted chokecherry tree

            clings to the bluff above a lake

in the shadows of its branches

            her trembling hands build a fire

            in the rotting snow

her eyes are raining

looking back, she sees now

            that she had dreamed him awake

            out of night


in the light of day

            flaws appeared everywhere

            in the façade she had created

when she scratched his surface

            he bled the truth

but it was she

            who felt the pain


as flames reach out

            in eternal thirst for fuel

she secrets his name in the letters

ties them with a ribbon

            to be forgotten

tosses them into the blaze

the bundle flares

            then glows and turns to ash


with a start

she sees flames

            licking hungrily

            at the ancient tree trunk

she is water

she bows her head

tears quench the fire

blackened bark

            whispers a blistered amen


this poem is the result of “word shopping” end words from poems in

    Eva Saulitis’ “Many Ways to Say It”

* * * *

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