Seven years ago
I left in winter
Came home in spring
And the land was scalped.
Bare skin, dermal cells now dust blowing in gale-force winds.
No grama, no sage, not even chamisa
Dry as the ash of bones ground and burnt.
The wind is the broom that sweeps it high into the sky
But we are the ones who wield it.
We do it at a remove, of course;
Humanity has never been one to clean up its own mess.
But now, seven years on, we see
Earth’s scars extend far beyond the loss of her long locks.
It is sixty in the dead of winter
No snow, no rain to slake the land’s great thirst
There will be no thaw, either, no melt, no runoff
If the land starves in summer, so shall we.
And now, the mayor wants to bring back logging
(Because he owns a sawmill)
The feds are selling off Chaco to drilling
(Because their friends covet the oil and gas of the ancestors’ bones).
Our neighbors to the west, the ancient canyondwellers,
They await the arrival of the rapine tools that will bring the poison up out of the ground
And north, to my own,
The mines have already turned the water to wormwood.
There is money in maiming
Profit in poison
And while they drill and extract and taint
Breed hellspawn born of a windigo spirit
They heat the earth to birth the wind that scalps the land again.
Seven years, the old ones say, and all is reborn again.
Born this year upon the warm dry wind
To sweep the dust into the air once more
And let it fall like rain
Upon an Earth crying for her children
Because they are not.