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  November 2018
volume 15 number 1
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Miriam Sagan November 2018
   

 

bio


photo by marie c lecrivain

    Miriam Sagan is the author of 30 published books, including the novel Black Rainbow (Sherman Asher, 2015) and Geographic: A Memoir of Time and Space (Casa de Snapdragon). which just won the 2016 Arizona/New Mexico Book Award in Poetry. She founded and headed the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College until her retirement this year. Her blog Miriam’s Well (http://miriamswell.wordpress.com) has a thousand daily readers. She has been a writer in residence in two national parks, at Yaddo, MacDowell, Colorado Art Ranch, Andrew’s Experimental Forest, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Iceland’s Gullkistan Residency for creative people, and another dozen or so remote and unique places. Her awards include the Santa Fe Mayor’s award for Excellence in the Arts, the Poetry Gratitude Award from New Mexico Literary Arts, and A Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa.

   

 

Water Gods

The feminine offering—
an Indian maiden
proffers a bowl of water
to conquistador de Soto
who may—or may not—
have passed this way.
a sentimental statue
on the segregated
men’s side
of the grand bath house.
Made up Indian names
and made up
Indian myths—
even the conquerors
feel the unease
of the conquered land itself.

Rain gods sit on a shelf—
Pottery made by the great
Nampeyo of Hopi—
They’re real
in that they’re
shaped by his hand,
painted in colors
of the desert,
and fake in that
they have nothing to do
with Arkansas, or these
pure springs
that gush
from the earth
in a place that never
lacks for rain.

The black attendant
and the white woman in the bath—
Sarah cast Hagar
into the wilderness
bondswoman and child
to starve
but ravens fed them
as if they wee prophets.
God of the waters
and of the dry wadi
we’re looking to
fall into you
even from this
great distance.

copyright 2018 Miriam Sagan

   

 

Mother

At the rock shop by the strip club
heaps of glass slag
glisten in the sun

odd how something
human-made, without
crystalline structure

is sold on tables
next to geodes
and fool’s gold

but it all glitters
I finger a small cluster
of amethysts

gems that will always
remind me of my mother
who kept the purple crystals

in a white shell
in the bathroom
as if it were lavender soap

she was a woman
without much
womanly art—

abhorred hand lotion
lipstick always bitten
and chapped

in her hand
a broom was less accustomed
than a book

and a piano score
meant more
than a shopping list

or a map—
she was just along
for my father’s ride

admiring beauty
he slightly sneered at—
orchids, fruit

three months after
the dementia that had already
taken her—took her

I built a little shrine
on my desk:
two small pieces of rose quartz

that look like tiny pink mountains
two clusters of crystal quartz
clear as spring water

and a palm full of purple sparkle.
We never loved each other
properly

the closest I’ll get
is to love what she loved
minerals of pressure and fire

smooth from rough—
perhaps that is enough.

copyright 2018 Miriam Sagan