january with long shadows

we wait out

september rain

in a church with a tin roof

a thousand angels i say

running all at once


leaking roof

into old coffee can

at rear of the church

tinny metronome

keeping beat

to a sermon on the devil

which is not

loud enough

to overcome the rain



Michele drives

sun in our eyes

hers focused

like purple fields


she turns north

onto old road to

ortiz cemetery


long shadows

a breeze we feel

but do not see

we visit her abuelita

new headstone

smiling picture at center

remember her

lessons on

family history

this one married that one

we are cousins to the first

they had three kids

second one died of a

burst appendix

the two girls

married brothers

from san miguel

they are related

to your mom

in the end

we are all cousins


my own abuelita

a shadow away

distant at winter sunset

a dormant grass

rust red

beside her settling grave

a sinking wound

after seventeen years

i barely remember

that far back

i pray

this red grass

was there then too


then my tio Willie

who drove a school bus

subtraction tells us

it has run without him

for nine years


every morning

a yellow bus

passes our house

i think of him

before the sun rises


my mother in law


my tio taking

the basketball team

to cotopaxi


his grandson Manuelito

did not have shoes

he loved that kid

drove that bus to canon city

and bought him a pair


like rain

i do not know

what a september church

in a meadow

has to do with


is it about shadows

longer in winter

how i wait

for them

to form