Sister City

In memory, the moon is full, bright edged, flat as a plate,                                                 
and the mountains blush pink.                                                                                                   
In memory, there is a beat up car, an old black dog, a camera.
Albuquerque, you embraced me: thirsty, lonely, lost in the desert;  
lifted your cloudy skirts to reveal a fringe of foothills.

In memory, there are vacant lots, ash and cinders,
and the ghosts of old motels, motioning. We are still here.
In memory, there is a rooster crowing, a peacock unfolding,
chihuahuas slipping under the metal gate of a trailer park.
Albuquerque, you pushed me forward on your sinewy streets,
laid out like the bleached bones of a body.

In memory, there is a tinted sky, gritty wind,
upturned face of a sunflower.
In memory, there are plaster Madonnas, dried out graves.
Albuquerque, you pull in two directions:
rural lanes and busy highways, and, always, dead and living.

In memory, spirits cling to corners, motioning. We are still here.
In memory, souls lift like sandhill cranes, silhouette against the sky.
Albuquerque, you drift between eras, between centuries,
between the past and future.

In memory, we are bonded in mourning,
tin cans of grief clattering behind us.
Albuquerque, Sister City, you give and you take,
losses strung like stars over the river. And we are still here.

Published in NM Poetry Anthology 2023