Poems of the Southwest
Regarding that Trip We Never Took to Taos, Robbie
What possessed you
when you called me
Every now and then
I could hear the fear you'd built up, dialing my old numbers
- then relief's breathiest breath: You'd found me!
My voice was masseuse and you were loosened
into blissfully assuming that your ace
is safely in the hole.
I remember what you said then about sidescripts:
describing me as yours and you as mine;
delighting how these hold apart
from main scripts of our lives, but stay
for staging sometime. Or not.
Well, it's been not for a long time, Robbie
and while you've been hanging onto your one marriage
I've been tossing quite a sequence of them back
- so if I ever had a main script
I've lost track
You went on to say you felt ready to see me
and we talked about driving together to Taos;
I promised I'd show you the best route: the back road.
I told you that's the way I always love to go.
You said, I know.
How come you need the notion
- just the notion -
of a sidescript
For thirty years
you've kept on dreaming
- only dreaming -
about being an outlaw
When the urge strikes next
it could be chancier to waste it
than to risk me:
You'll be past fifty
and I'm so not so very scary anymore.
I've cut out skipping down expressway medians
- with or without wildflowers in my arms -
and I seldom break in zoos
to wish the animals sweet dreams
because I'm not eighteen.
What's more, by any stream
in almost any weather
I can be trusted not to turn into Ophelia.
And I hardly ever climb a tree these days
to play my flute at dawn.
I guarantee you would survive a trip to Taos in my company.
Being damn near out of the mad lady business
I've become something you could probably handle:
I am fun now, Robbie.
I've got a few grey hairs among the ginger
but I'm prettier.
And I've learned a luscious lot more about lovemaking
- plus nearly as much about Taos.
Why, I could lead you right to
the best room
by the plaza
with a fireplace
and big windows opening toward the mountains.
In here are carved chairs, dark
from centuries of touching.
Touching. And the fluffiest
bounciest fourposter in town.
Chants to a Terracotta
1. the drum carol
clay fisted to knees
and broad shoulders
wide moccasined feet
the left softly outwise
the right one with toes tilted high;
legs bowed like a baby's
now amply reclining
in permanent dreamstate
the Sleeping Ute
the gallery called her;
her ring is Blue Lake
come the people
the wise men
where sky fills
here she holds
I come close
know how to
the hair's austere
almost not there
following her nose
Santa Fe Style
When business is slow
I do some reading
so the bartender confided
unpleating a scarf
to show me
©1985,1987, 2011 Katherine Anne Harris. All rights reserved.