Northern New Mexico
Redondo Peak hovers over the high desert plain,
over me like an ancestral church.
I call it my cathedral of conscience.
Mostly it’s a tower of silence
and stillness and listening.
It demands nothing
It is my confessor

Tonight, Redondo reminds me of years
spent in pinnacles of onyx and steel.
Cloud-splitting silos
from which people poured like stored wheat.
I imagined mountains I’d never see
as proof against ourselves,
against wind, water and fire

Tonight, as I allow Redondo
to drown out the static of life,
wind sculpts smoke into the specter
of the sacrificial son.
My eyes sting and I smell, even taste, forests
sacrificed, atomized above the Rio Grande valley.
My reverie turns into a prayer for the dead

I hike this morning under crowns naked,
empty of grace.
Redondo’s ridges,
blackened and flood-raw,
stand as lifeless six years on
as the cathedral is dark.
The sun’s warmth feels like a curse.