Spring 2008, Volume 4

Poetry by Andrea L. Watson

Ghost Ranch with Stick Figure and Stars

On the third Friday, I turn 50.
I tell my husband we must travel
to Abiquiu. I will become a famous artist,

painting cow skulls and calla lilies
that are crypto vaginas. We will be content
under the dry eye of the Pedernal.

My husband puts on his 3-piece suit,
whistles as we drive the High Road. We pass
a post office the size of a used stamp,

peer into the general store selling posters
of the Other One. We notice dawn-bare
shelves offering no tubes of tint.

I tell my husband we will purchase the house
on the river. The river that has birthed a dam.
The sandwashed house that lives under the dam.

We dream through room after room:
I will become a painter of peeling walls;
he will become a fixer of leaking toilets.

Now the kitchen where artisan bread bakes,
cracked countertops where we make love
like gypsies. Now the drawer with the knives,

the drawer with the lavender note taped inside:
In event of dam burst, rescue turquoise lightning,
then sky above clouds. On the way to the car,

my husband removes his vest, drinks 2 O’Keeffe’s.
Behind the wheel, I look back once. The lonely
mountain eye weeps spirit-bones of stars.

Storm Warnings

My neighbor stands on her doorstep, arms
the color of adobe, pulling the tortoise brush
down her scooped back, through her long hair,
until it seems a ribbon-work of restless water.

She tells me her bedroom has been captured
by a loom, replacing a swath of shadow strands
with threads of saffron, indigo, pomegranate.

The Tlingit tribe believes
when a woman brushes her hair outside
her front door, storms will come.

I watch Adelina on Wednesday from my window.
She beckons me inside. The weave is everything,
she tells me, more magnificent than the design.

Friday, her blue door opens to skeins of showers:
I make my fish-plans 'though there are hair-knots
and her fingers tangle in the dawn-washed web.

At the river, I cast and reel, while clouds form a carpet,
torrential rains quick coming. Line and leader balancing
to the rod, I lose bump of metallic blue shading to silver
as storms slow trouts' leaping time. Will I leave emptyhanded?

Later, on my porch, I find a prophecy wrapped in paper,
her tightly wefted tapestry of rainbows, and I think
our friendship is like her hair, hip deep and braided.


You cannot remember my name,
but here is a pearl: la perla—
this is the name you would call me.

This pearl rests in the dresser
with all the others; if I taste it, it is
a new tortilla, or posole, maiz of alabaster.

17 beads now ring the drawer, one pearl
sent each year until the necklace forms
round as a promise kept.

On the day you die, I thread pearls
on jeweler s wire, weep tears-of-mary
for garnet of blood on your railed bed.

The necklace-of-you fits but wants your clasp.
Remembering the prayer for the dead,
I repeat our life’s rosary: We believe

the luminous mysteries of light, pale
hands of the postulant weaving, garland
of roses, perlado como la nieve, casting

ghost petals across mantilla of night sky.
This circle holds arc of moon as adornment—
everything we were to one another.

doņa luz cannot fly

in the old courtyard, right of the plaza,
los guerejos flock and feather about her

doņa luz loads fruits into her basket
persimmon jackfruit lemon

colors form a triangle like gloves
of flame trees off taos mountain

now freckled eggs, green-blue marked
with brown, lard and beans, lavender

for the jug with a wink of coyote’s eye,
red-chile ristra and tomatillos green

like her loneliness wind on her face
pricks like claw prints of the hill-crow

doņa luz pulls her cape of midnight
about her raven-cloth wings to lift

her to a tiny house with red shutters
and the tin beak for a doorknocker

inside windows born of ebony and dirt
her skywash shadow shifts dusk across

walls of moon-bleached lizard bones
y entre dos luces sapphire lady threads

fire of rag sage and string berries listens
to owl-silence nesting in corners of her life.

who are you in my wednesday dream?

lights off
little red boots snow
falling forever wooden sled
I am riding that hill

push, push

your eyes are coals
the whites my broken landscape

fast forward to the place that knows

eight stairs to the attic careful
step on every other

a door opens where
your glance is
the room

now the falling of hearts
there is no such person as

in our town of forgotten-memory
each house is an altar
carved from winter

you kneel and heart-cold
calls me holy

pray for blessing of the unforgiven

pull, pull

lights on

BIO:  Andrea L. Watson’s poetry has appeared in Poet, Runes, The Comstock Review, Ekphrasis, Folio, Room of One’s Own, Earth’s Daughters, and Georgetown Review, among others. Her show, Braided Lives: A Collaboration Between Artists and Poets, was sponsored by the Taos Institute of Arts in 2003; traveled to San Francisco's SomArts Cultural Center in 2005; and was hosted by Tennyson Gallery, Denver, CO, RANE Gallery, Taos, NM, and Studio Rasa, Berkeley, CA in 2006. She is co-editor of HeartLodge: Honoring the House of the Poet.