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.


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