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
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.
transforms lapis lazuli into gold,
velvet terrestrial darkness below.
like a rhinestone bracelet
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,
of an unwary observer,
drags us all tumbling, bobbing,
thrashing, and imagining
toward its alter ego—
the Río Bravo.
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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
at the ancient tree trunk
she is water
she bows her head
tears quench the fire
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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