Afternoon Coffee with Death

“On this site nothing happened,”

the sign declares at this outdoor café.

Someone took the time            shot bullet holes

through enameled coffee pots strung along the fence.

Well…that’s something.


Sipping coffee with cream, I write:

Wind whips sand into a desert dervish.

Next table over            Death pulls up a chair.

I see he drinks his coffee black, El Mapais, rolling lava

fills all the emptiness.


Lucky Strike, flick of a match and smoke curls

through his lips red as canyons made for swallowing rivers.

I turn my body                        so he can’t see and write:

Through nights of stars and blankets the wind drags a shadow,

drags the invisible to light.


This morning I hung out laundry – blue jeans stiff, sheets snapping sideways,

grit in my teeth. Vultures floated circular currents,

shadows of wings beat down heat.

Death is rearranging magnetic poetry on the wall. He writes: I felt

sweet love whisper to me.


Sweet love…I never wanted it to stop whispering.

On this parched patch of earth, a single blade

of grass grows             a fraction of an inch.

Bury me in rich loam, not among chalk and bones.

                                                            Did I write that? Or did he?

El Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico

El Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico


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