Raking the WildI rake raw dirt,
spread seed as if it mattered
that things be given the chance to grow.
This wilderness made
of earth hard from neglect.
What does manage to grow has come
randomly and with abandon---
mostly weeds and sprigs from the Chinese elm
that take tenacious hold in
the soil of the old riverbed.
The only thing to do is begin.
Rake till the soil has breath.
Plant seeds of wildflowers
in this yard defined by chaos,
wanting to believe
they will take root and grow.
This neighborhood belongs to anyone who dares--
high-heeled shoe on bare concrete,
drains where water goes all the way to the river,
families who've lived here through grandchildren--
Barelas, where sun sets under birdsong and clammer.
An old woman walks by with her hair braided tightly
to her head, holding the hands of two dark-skinned boys.
I watch from the organic fortress that is my house,
clear burlap bags, Burger King wrappers, Styrofoam cups
from the empty lot of my yard.
An old man in a grey suit and felt hat
walks through the abandoned alley on his way to church,
bows his head in greeting,
his elegance spilling into this seasoned air.
Issue #3, September, 1998 :
Santa Fe Poetry Broadside.