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Editor's Note


SNR's Writers


Trinity Test Site, New Mexico 

Your barren land
                                    past all vision
Squat junipers
                    clutch the sand
                                        their darkened berries dance.
  Rocks rise and mesas merge
                                                           with the alkaline flatlands,
                                                           white, like bleached sheets,
                                                           their edges press into the asphalt.
Your ridges protrude like spines through skin
Your dry arroyos dip like the backs of knees
In the land of Jornada del Muerto, as the sun rose,
                                                               Your sands swallowed
                                                               Our blinding dawn.
                                                                 Your sky buffered
                                                                                  The blistering kill,
                                                                                  The roll of fire,
                                                                                 The sleeves of smoke,
Throbbing over the mountains.
In Alamogordo La Virgin was waiting in her rose draped altar
For the flores and cantos to protect the poor
And the chiles were hanging along the porches drying,
Their bruised bodies swinging against the sun.

On the Tuesday She Turned 35
Her sister called to say, “There are
tumors the size of Granny Smiths
on the walls of my uterus.”
He paused the movie that they were
watching and the actors caught
and held still, until she knew the scene
Intimately. As she cried, he
rubbed two fingers up and down
her spine as if trying to smooth it out.
The next day as drove, she saw
ice burst from the palisades
In frozen waterfalls and the lights
along the street glowed like orange peels
in glass. She crossed the Hudson River
and wondered what lived there in the shadows
of floating ice. What blood moved
coolly through their hearts?

Reading to Helen
Helen looks like she could be dead when she answers the door
Skin dry and folded the color of nicotine
Her face peers from above her long arms and neck
A bird perched among skinny branches
Blue eyes turned inward -blind – like two fish gone belly up
In her apartment the walls are made of books
Loose pages fluttering around us
Like children's hands brushing our faces
Covered with the sound of edges moving
Helen collects dead flowers she presses each one into a year
Until the decade is frozen in her gin
This is how to make it smooth
She says and sips from her glass
Outside shovels scrape against the sidewalks
On the table is a photograph of her dead husband
Past the window the crush of snow
Once she told me there was someone she had loved more

Copyright 2009, Rebecca Watkins. © This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.

Rebecca Watkins, originally from Cincinnati, moved to New York via New Mexico where she lived and worked on the Navajo Reservation and in the miniscule town of Gallup. She has been a volunteer, a youth mentor, an organic gardener, and yoga instructor. She received her BA in Telecommunications from Ball State University in Indiana, and is currently an MFA candidate at the City College of New York where she also teaches composition. She has been published in the MT Cup Review, Whiskey Island, and the Red Mesa Review, and has been a contributing writer for XRay Magazine and The Gallup Journal.