There is an ancient place
in New Mexico
where the native people
live in reddish-brown stacked pueblos.
A native girl
dressed in ordinary clothes
led our tour. It was raining
and my fingers nearly froze.
She took us to Red Willow Creek
where she gathered water
in a bucket, as a child,
living with her grandmother.
We ducked through an earthen doorway
and found a wise woman, wrinkled
and silent, sitting by a fire made
from sticks gathered
in the sacred hills.
We stood by the church
ruins; rubble, rock
and wooden crosses
stacked high — for the women who fled
from the army; to the sanctuary (with their children);
Who were slaughtered, she said.
The true tales
of the Old West
are found in the upturned faces
of the women, singing sculptured sadness
from within their mica flecked
pottery robes. They sing their story
to their children, and the small statue I bought –
she sings to me.
Our history is not glory
and also truimph.
The red willow village remains
and the people live today
beneath their sacred Blue Lake.
I bought dream Catchers there;
the real deal, not like those fake
ones you see, hanging on a rear-view mirror,
picked up at the Five and Dime.
Ours hang in our bedrooms, crafted
by the Taos, woven of ecru twine,
a rawhide handle,
beads of robin egg blue, purple and red;
and a spider web net
to catch bad dream thoughts full of dread.