Life in Ancient Kuaua

A Winter Day

january winter
Look out over the Rio Grande
On a snowy day
Try to imagine life here
Long ago:
Winter, without a warm coat or gloves
Its fangs sharper,
A cold that kills
Clad in layers of black cotton
And deerskin, the tawny golden
Fur of a coyote and
Woven turkey feather blankets
Against winters so cold
That the Rio Grande froze solid
Surely on these winter days,
Pueblo families huddled close
Around a fire fed with precious wood,
Thick earthen  walls and
Hide-covered  doorways
Protecting the heat
Women inside, grinding corn,
Singing to babies wrapped in
Soft blankets of woven rabbit fur,
And in a blackened pot,
Warm stew simmers
In the corner
Grandmother sits, a little one or two
Wrapped in her manta,
Telling stories about the way it used to be
Long ago
Listening, a man patiently knaps
A shining core
Of black obsidian
Volcanic glass
Becomes a sharp spear point
His tool
The antler of a deer
On a wooden flute
His son learns a song
To make the corn grow –
The clear high notes
Echo
Across snow-covered plazas
Winter, a time for making tools
And prayers for the sun
Instructing children
Telling stories
Waiting for summer to return.

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