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  • Alice Wyatt

Finding Life Among the Dead

A Sacred Place


There is a sacred place

in the wilds of New Mexico

where fear of death

has no hold on me


I visit often

wind, wildflowers

black storm clouds

pouring over the

mountain top


My only companions

carved stones identifying

those voices silenced

by death



A faint path pressed

into dried grasses

winds through

scaly Alligator Juniper

ancient tombstones are

tucked willy-nilly among

stunted Pinon Pine


Some families gather

even in death

but mostly

nature thwarts

man’s desire

for orderly posterity


Fierce sun

incessant wind

eat away

names

dates

etched sentiments fade

fences collapse upon the dead

wooden crosses hang askew



Despite this, it is an

indescribably beautiful place



Recent rains have released

pungent scents

mesquite and creosote

damp earth and juniper berries


Softened red clay holds my footprints

hummingbirds zip overhead while

red Indian Paintbrushes pop their heads

above tangles of purple sweet pea vines


This sacred place

calls to me when

life is bigger

richer

overwhelmingly

more

than my heart can bear


It comforts me

when days are

dark, uncertain

to be reminded of

my own mortality

unexplainably,

fortifies my soul


An odd place to find

spiritual life

an all but abandoned

cemetery

but I have learned

not to question

a timeless diety


On a high point

overlooking layers of

grey mountain ridges

a meandering creek

with its blanket of cottonwoods

descending into the valley

on the east

I stretch my arms wide

lift my face to absorb

the midday sun

quiet my soul


Here - in this place

if God were to say,

“This is the end.”


I would be able to reply,

“It has been enough.”

and then, hopefully

“Thank you”



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