The Sandoval Signpost

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In my mind I see the door,
I see the sunlight before me across
the floor beckon to me …
—From “The Door,” by Robert Creeley

I want no more than home.
—From “Goodbye,” by Robert Creeley

El Placiteño


In my mind’s eye,
I see you now
as a silhouette
outlined by
pencils of lightning
standing at the window
reflected in a mirror
on an adobe wall
of a room
illumined by a summer storm
crossing the Rio Grande Valley,
dominating the airspace
of the Placitas hills
with dark, cumulo-nimbus overhang.

Or: walking in high desert
mountain sunlight
along old acequias,
hearing the jazz you loved
and the wind,
hearing wind-jazz
among the junipers,
a deep guttural whisper
of Louie Armstrong
in the chamisa and cholla,
the high thin wail of Billie Holiday,
or Sarah Vaughan tremolo,
winding around a piñón,
or Ella’s scats jumping around
like jackrabbits,
or riffs of Ahmad Jamal and Shearing
in the breezes moving
long, blue, flowering branches
of Russian sage,
sometimes the wind
playing shadow and cloud
like notes in the air,
honking around
these hilltop houses
like lower registers
of Trane’s sax.

But now, after moving onward,
something of you is back,
or never left,
like a reflection
that wouldn’t leave the mirror,
and I feel you moving
through the old village,
down the dirt road
at the end of pavement,
rounding the mountain
in the shadow of the peak,
passing the spirit
of the Sandia Man
in his cave,
heading for the other side
of the mountain.

In the place
you made for yourself twice
in this village,
in light of your shadow
which lingers
in the adobe heart
of your Placitas home,
we can only bury you
in the thin air
where we breathe you
in the wind of a summer storm.

On our way home
some evening,
each of us will notice
a one-eyed coyote
chasing jackrabbits
through an arroyo
in a fading twilight
that reaches
to the Jemez.

Placitas, NM, 2005

Gary L. Brower is a journalist, poet, and teacher who lives in Placitas. He read this poem at the Celebration of Life memorial for American poet Robert Creeley at Anasazi Fields Winery this past September.





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