Monday Poem by Michaela Kahn

Monday Poem …
 
I took a lovely walk out at the petroglyphs that are just south-west of Santa Fe yesterday. It is an amazing collection (I believe one of the most dense in New Mexico if not the Southwest). Birds stacked on top of each other, spirals, hand prints, snakes, strange masked faces that look a little bit like modern day emoticons, and many, many humped-back flute players.
It put me in mind of a poem I wrote several years ago, when the Convention Center in downtown Santa Fe was being  re-constructed. As they dug down to create an underground parking structure, they ended up discovering old ruins and (I believe) some possible burial sites. At the time I thought about how strange it is that a City can be built upon its own ruins, and each generation we just forget what came before – that there are bones and ruins beneath our sidewalks. (Previously published at 2 River).
The city forgets

How does a city forget itself:
a stone that paved the Spanish conquest,
latrine near the well, bent nail.

Which teeth punctured apple, what
stash of seeds. Whose ruin
beneath the parking lot:
squirrel, human, a sound
that makes itself from
pieces.

Each stone is itself
a story of blue and the ripping
winds, each stone knows
the weight of stone and stone—
the dizzy heights of smoke
above a dry land.

Braided fiber, drilled bone,
plastic lighter, silver coin:
tool and echo.

Every time you leave it
the city cries out,
circles back on itself
scenting out the piece left.

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