Miriam Sagan

In the Monastery of Circumambulation and the Statue of Liberty walking bywhat was oncethe Hospitalfor Crippled ChildrenI lean on my canecontinue pastVeterans Memorial Parkwhere a smallish replicaof the Statue of Libertycommemorates 911and a replicate of the Vietnam wallreminds us of…well, things you have not yethad the privilegeof forgetting this isTruth or ConsequencesNew Mexicowith thorny bushesand so manylovely particularlittle birds in an ordinary neighborhooda whitewashed stupatrimmed in gold buddhasstands positionedwith the Rio Grande to the southa hill shaped like a turtle—sporting a water towershaped like a water tower—to the north I circumambulatein the wrong direction at firstmy brain addlednot by a vowto save all beingsbut by my usualdyslexiathen switch coursego round three timesclockwisein the correct mannerand bowmaking as gasshowith both hands my intention?just to stop quarrelingwith all the thingsI do not understand. In the Monastery of Fragrance and Panic I sat in the sand of the arroyo there was no wave to wash my footprints awayother than timeother than windother than not knowingwhere I was going I remember when the childrenemptied the vegetable crisperand plantedall the scallionsin the dry wash expecting harvest?expectingcities these cities, named and nameless,come and gowith the observer we couldn’t findthe ruined pueblodriving back and forthon arroyo hondo in the monasteryof tequila and triple sec and ice cubesI met you, my love,in bedand attemptedto lick the saltoff every rim in the arroyoof awakening and regretI crossed my legsas did the dry bushas did the reddish cliffsas did the path which kept appearingand disappearing on a perfectly clear day.
In The Monastery of My Opinions and Some Birds todayI heard people saya few stupid thingsabout poetryand even stupider thingsabout war as I was loading the carto go southI heard three crowsin a leafless treechattingabout howthey oncewere dinosaurs coyotefollows three people—I meanthree sandhill cranesat a respectfuldistancethey won’t make dinneras they walk along the corn fieldungainlyin their wings until perfect, they taketo the currentsof the airabove the bosquewith its red salt cedarits black ducksits water thrownhallucinogenic bluelike silk before the feetof bare desert mountains the daytime moonis waxingjust not thatquicklymy thoughts seem suspendedintimatewith storiesof the pastand unbornstoriesstill to comewhile a huge buzzing flockof blackbirds wheelsas if to illustrateclassicswarm theoryuntil they turnagainst the lightvanish

Miriam Sagan is the author of over thirty books of poetry, fiction, and memoir. Her most recent include Bluebeard's Castle (Red Mountain, 2019) and A Hundred Cups of Coffee (Tres Chicas, 2019). She is a two-time winner of the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards as well as a recipient of the City of Santa Fe Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and a New Mexico Literary Arts Gratitude Award. She founded and directed the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College until her retirement. Her poetry was set to music for the Santa Fe Women's Chorus, incised on stoneware for a haiku pathway, and projected as video inside an abandoned grain silo in rural Itoshima, Japan. Her blog is Miriam's Well--http://miriamswell.wordpress.com