A bowl of raspberries, bloody and wet,
curls into the sandstone.
The oranges and pinks sweat
at the white sun, over the canyon.
We fling out yelps and holler,
our voices spring back glistening
against the curve of the canyon’s collar.
But maybe we should be listening
to the echoes left behind.
Hear the cries and confessions
heaved into eastern wind,
at the fur foot of the basin.
Listen for the sound of the Najavo
whose death stains the canyon’s throat.
Their dry feete moving into echo
along the walk of Bosque Redondo.
Over sleepy stretches of wide earth,
a sigh wheezes against the sullen dust,
through the sweet gauzy wisps hanging
in the hot heaviness of lone star sky.
That sun is a hateful white eye and she
stings the shadows and shade into hiding.
Below, planted in the chalk, fields of nodding
cranes lap at the ground; or, they are widows
sipping tea (black brew: no sugar, no cream)
and listening patiently to the I-20 chatter;
or, spindly dancers squeezing the dirt
for melted tar with synchronized curtseys.
The cranes, the ladies, the ballerinas,
they are fixated on their greed. They pick
constantly at the dry, dry ground until
their knees, arthritic with rust, cave in
and they fall in a pile on each other,
onto the soft death of the Odessa sand.
Elizabeth Donaldson is a twenty-one year old Pittsburgh native studying English and History at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. The voices heard and faces seen in American landscapes inspire her work and desire to travel. More of her work can be found digitally at http://www.strikingly.com/lizzydonaldson.