to help us remember.”
It looks like that day is approaching. We were set to fly to Albuquerque on Feb. 15 and spend 10 days in the vicinity until my right hip became dysfunctional. Now it’s “further testing” and knocking down the inflamation until we find out what is wrong.
Our focus was to be a Road Scholar week tracing the struggle of New Mexico’s conversos and Crypt-Jews. Among the sights we were scheduled to visit are Acoma Pueblo, the Cultural & Heritage Institute and Chayma’o chapel. Below are photos and poems and a paining by Helen Harris from trips in 1998 and 2007.
Child of the Desert
Dry brush crisscross desiccated
saguaro ribs bound with twisted
fibers to weathered poles. Specks
of shade in a solar sea cast
their patterned light over an infant
sleeping in a hammock gently
rocked by grandmother sitting docile
in her cobbled chair, beside a
castoff table draped with checkered
oilcloth, its tear tucked under an
AM radio playing faux native
music from an Anglo world
across the desert, fifty miles away.
Museum of Indian Arts &
Culture, Santa Fe, NM
Sky People of a Thousand Years
for Orlando Antonio (1958-2007) Acoma Pueblo Guide
A warrior of many days,
sits on his kiva-step,
high above the desert floor.
In a voice low and worn,
he remembers climbing
with sky people of a thousand years.
When golden fire touches the west,
we People-of-the-White-Rock scale
this sandstone cliff to glittering light,
up a cleft, over boulders and scree,
ceaseless steps scoured by sandaled feet.
With vessels of medicine, water,
on our heads, we climb
clutching handholds carved in rocks
by sky people of a thousand years.
We reach for our lofty place.
Grasp the niches of time.
Pull through black to a clear day.
Rise another step,
we sky people of a thousand years.
Acoma Pueblo, NM