from Abercrombie’s stockroom–1950s or so
Abercrombie’s (built circa 1860) in Anton Chico, NM
by Merimée Moffitt Spring 2011
Wow— an arrow-slotted fortress for Comanche attacks
We walk through plumbing parts
unearth your father’s and grandfathers’ old porch lantern
stacked doors lean, the floor a domestic dump.
Grandmothers stood on stools to level muskets
at natives shooting arrows right there–
massacre, slaughter, death: the entire
town of Anton Chico twice leveled by
Comanche serious about staying.
Can’t say I blame them
The invaders’ history lightly dusted
with cocoa powder earth in almost ruins,
this garage holds old glass like green petrified popsicles
walls 3 feet deep a pastiche of fissures
reminders everywhere of shared blood
and food, lace curtains, oak tables, plums
The village howls witch winds through crazy teeth
spiraling to an eye looking;
we kick around the warehouse,
our mother bones, our womanly feet pulled by
the scent of age and paternal stars.
In the smaller, melting house you say
“Know why the pink walls?
My room as a kid,” and smile to your roots.
Mother and father dancing figurines in fancy clothes
bought you the pretty wrought iron bed with hearts,
divorced and danced the door open for you.
Peaches, pears, and apples, a wedding cake of
rolling land speckled with ochre-dotted
agave blues in mica-glitter slabs;
we scramble all day over black rock tables.
Your silver Nissan our bare-back pony.
The land grant rich with flagstone and free-roaming cattle
red heads also, curious about why we visit their Pecos,
meandering under curved-rock shelves layered like tortillas
deep pools of shade and water good as gold.
We wander the gulch where your great great grandfather
hid a herd of stolen cattle from Texas.
On the porch, old stoves await re-installation.
High ceilings impatient for Bob Wills in the living room.
Stars drip down to cover this million-acre bowl.
We play Scrabble, grill steaks in the kitchen
on the wood stove firebox. Child-like ghosts
serve as gatekeepers to this hard-won land like
little dervishes of wind, playing, just messing around
outside time, teasing us with tiny gusts
as we set the latch to head back to the city.