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“Sight”: A New Poem

August 6, 2019

I don’t usually include poems in this blog, but writing poetry is a part of who I am.  My first paid publication was a poem; I joined my first writing group (Still River Writers) as a poet.  I consider myself largely a stage and screenwriter (not to mention a blogger), so writing poems has become a rarity.

That anomaly appeared last weekend with a poem that had been churning inside of me for several years.  I had attempted to write it many times, but it never seemed to work, so I put it aside, and worked on other projects.   This time, though, the poem came.

See the source image

Sight

A few miles outside Taos, New Mexico

is where the Rio Grande Gorge cuts

through deep layers of sediment and basalt.

Not quite high enough to reach the heavens,

a bridge puts the two hundred meter drop

directly beneath your feet.

 

Cumulus castellanus

arc at eye level,

but gazing down at the river

it is difficult to tell

if the water is reflecting the clouds

or it’s the sky that mirrors the water.

 

Tourists populate the west

end of the highway–

munching on churros, gulping sodas,

inhaling fry bread.

Herding themselves to the north

side of the bridge, they take in

the distant majesty of the

Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

At the very least, they try to find

a great selfie spot.

 

On the south side of the bridge

there are no tourists, no spilled drinks,

no viewfinders.

There are instead black ribbons

each with a name and age

scrawled in gray sharpie–

Sandra Santiago, 17

Goldenstar, 14

Unknown, 25.

 

Unknown?

I can’t help but wonder

if the gorge rushed up and maimed her

body with such violence

that the coroner finally decided

to just give up.

 

Or, maybe no one claimed her

because she knew that

the void left behind

would be visible to no one.

 

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