Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Morning Horse, Canyon de Chelly

Standing on the Slickrock
looking down into the still shaded
canyon the man and the woman
could see a mud-roofed hogan
with the top half of the east facing
door open, waiting for sunlight.
A horse walked over to the door
and put its head in as if
to say good morning, or here I am,
your horse, just like yesterday.

Then before the sun touched
the horse's back, before the sheep
came bounding out of their pens
adding their bahs and bells
to the quiet of the canyon
they eased down the trail
in the morning air
toward White House Ruin.
Ravens rode the thermals
and red lizards pulsed in red dust.

The trail ran out at the river
so they took off their shoes
and hung them on their shoulders
and walked on in the cold shallow water.

Now, weeks later, as she sleeps
beside him, he thinks of the horse.
He thinks mornings come to him
like that. That into the darkness
of sleep there comes a long dark
face with questioning eyes
whose light he feels in his own
before he opens them.

Before he turns to her
or she turns to him
the day is already moving in each of them
like sun into the canyon
to light the ruins and the river
and the horse that wants.

- Greg Pape


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