Susan Gangel

Santa Fe Rides
10 stops along the way

(She was) falling, falling out of my car and
               the stallions could not
                              stem their hot breath—
all the red dirt (was) in piles near the road

(They explore) old firmament, a brick or two
               lying about under the sign of the crucifix.
Wood and the clay pots interacting –
                              all birds in one direction

Total skyward
aspirations, a mucked up puddle
               beside the old schoolmarm’s portrait
Abacus of popcorn
               :dresses torn and full of pockets

What could not enter was called Form
               In the foothills, a tiny village, with hope and sacrificial
Blessed be the interloper, all dusty after her ride
               exit sign sputters, shorts out for good

Bell weathers hail the small
                              birds in summer winds
(They fly over)
               little buckets of sand

slang words, a bonfire,
               around a hut
miles of flat and barely planted fields

Interlocking surfaces UPSET THE STATUS of the lawn
                                                            Behold the cringing antelope, all tails and snout
But (why these) puzzles at the waterhole?
               (Why that) dust flying on the mighty plains?

Abolish all trace of the mystic
               try ridges toward the Southwest mesas –
a cactus with falling needles
               the change of seasons just a remnant of some dancing tribal lord

Next year seems so far away, and yet she longs to book another tour
                                                            If she went home
               the tall cedars (would) swim in sunlight – the river (would turn)
back again and again

Fortitude is given over freely
               It’s different on the desert, different than all
of childhood, different than all the heart’s unknowing
               scattered in the air

Susan Gangel is a citizen and painter of San Francisco. She has collaborated with the photographer Terry Turrentine on vispo for Otoliths, and published work in HowEver, CLNWRS, blueprint, sfpeaceandhope, Rooms, & More Rooms. Her books for Co-Lab Press with Kit Kennedy include Inconvenience, Constellations, and Intentions.
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