Shed Project Notes, August 30, 2019—La Madera, NM

for Johnny Ortiz & Afton Love

And the wasp nest in the elbow of the wrought metal gate
and a few of them suspended in blind float and
the brindle without a collar slipping between the fence without fear
and the same girl asleep under our table when dinner’s ending.

A ball cap waxy with sun and work. They had a light-soft step.
Shucking very small leaves from stems. Stems gathered, swept
from the table into an open hand. One of the two-hundred offerings
in an evening. A brush with the graces of a wood-burning stove.

You draw the world; you pass through a garland threshold
of piñon, ponderosa, cedar, crow weed; you have three hours together
speaking bright and low; lifting small prayers to lips to taste. Dance Hall
rose rose with the aura of Waltz and Lindy Hop. Hey hey, mezcal, cactus fruit,

rose quartz—tectonic breath and lightning at the throat. The air
in La Madera. Fetid marigold somewhere in the back of the heart.
And where your dirty hair is oily at the crown, where your fingers can disappear
and it feels like being inside your own body: Mama, take this badge from me. Raw wild elk.

What is grown and what is happened into? Yes, please.
What is found. When each course and pairing, in-mouth, revises
language into a guttural vowel of recognition. Fine stainless—yes—mesh

of the glass tea pot that twins candle light. Smoke, finer. Laurelin said
it was, “Tobacco grown by Johnny/mullen/red willow/perhaps
something I’m forgetting/wrapped in a corn husk.”

Having no need for our names, we surge into the possible night. The artists
stand at the threshold of the Dance Hall, drying stemware one piece at a time,
holding each up to look for the haloes of our mouths written in low light.

Barking Dog Nocturnal

The coyotes didn’t show themselves, no matter how hard I searched. Some nights my mom came into my room and stroked my hair before I left to search them out.

from August

a fire my mind/
entirely a house of cinder in/
a house of cinder