They climb rockbent ladders,
legs like cottonwood limbs.
Smoke rises up the ashblack rock wall
where ground grain cooks, and
the floor of the kiva is streaked wet,
rust-colored and black with
sweat and charcoal.
Behind the defensive wall,
beneath the jutting sandstone overhang,
their bare feet make weak footprints
in the ancient dust--
some grand dance
in the cool underbelly of the cave.
Balanced precision in all things,
their wide smiles and telling eyes.
Time like a hurricane, seasons
of earth and snow and sun
all back over again,
channeled through the bodies of
people who know better.
Little dried corncobs and shattered
bits of clay bowls.
Smoothed indentations in rock just
handholds for curious fingers.
Gravity takes intricate purposeless
walls and makes skipping stones of them.
Ladder legs lie split and ravaged
among the rockshards.
All hidden and eroding in the emptiness
of the canyon cliffs.