At the Edges of the Pueblo

by Margaret Randall

A great tree falls on a downed power line
and this time
the fire is dubbed accidental:
Cerro Grande, Las Conchas,

no resources spared in a month
of smoke – clogged sky
and the people of Los Alamos
finally breathe relief,

return to their homes, the menace
of that other accident
still stirring memory.
PTSD common as the common cold.

To the southeast at Santa Clara,
beyond the Jémez
they drain two irrigation ponds
of water foul with dead fish.

The ditchwater in Hernández is also black
and plants grow slowly
thirsty for the nitrogen
cowering in sweet – scented legends.

One burned elk comes into a garden
is about to speak
then falls over and dies.
We wait for wind to sing his funeral dirge.

One list holds the language of death:
Oso Complex, Dry Lakes,
South Fork, Las Conchas, Cerro Grande.
Like broken thunder it overtakes

that other list: Cochiti Mesa, Puye, P’opii Khanu.
Turkey Girl is orphaned again
gathering charges
who starve in secret canyons.

An ash cloud rises in air
we cannot breathe.
People say they saved Los Alamos
and let Santa Clara burn.

At the edges of the pueblo
all our ancestors weep.