Red rocks line hillsides

casting shadows on mobile home parks

where eight year olds walk with limps

from hip replacements of years before

reminders of wages once made

mounting the backs of angry bulls.

The woman without electricity

without running water,

feeding the mouths of eight of her own

takes on the burden of feeding our mouths,

the fifteen who mix the cement for her new home,

because we are family too.

The elder who knows no English

watches as we work

says nothing, only smiling

when we attempt to speak with her.

our parting words: ‘see you later grandmother’

hers, ‘thank you my children’

because we are family too.   

We meet the man whose heart has forgotten

how to carry oxygen to the rest of his body

but it has not forgotten how to love.

The man who came here to die,

instead found meaning in the selfless hearts he encountered,

mirrors of his own.

The man who cannot bring himself to leave

because he is family now too.

We meet the man who totes a gun

so you won’t suspect his soft heart.

He leads us through New Mexico mud

to crumbling cliffs

where toes tempt edges.

I cannot tell who is more solid

the man or the rock we stand upon.

Atop mountains

the wind frantically kisses my face

begging for the attention it cannot demand below.

Entire towns splayed out at our feet.

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