Susannah W. Simpson

The Souls of San Miguel

      Bernal, New Mexico

No one's in the orchard or near the windmill,
not a soul in sight, just wind, wrapping around
the barn and across the ranch.

But, there in the low adobe bunker of a house,
spirits in the back room wondered—
who were these Anglos buying up family land?

After all our years and tears, all our cooking, canning,
and praying, these easterners unpack crates
of godless thoughts and rename our land.

Freedom's Gate, they called it. Rancho Diablo,
my sister called it, but then,
she had to sleep in that back room.

Sunday Sonnet

      Las Cruces, New Mexico

My car pointed south
as a dousing stick aimed
toward you, water,
any water, water distanced
1,963 miles away.
I did not understand
how much I desired you,
longed for you, parched
and pined for you, withering
in my landlocked dehydration.
Water, I required the smell of you,
to be in you—lie next to you,
and hear your breath of ages
lap my shores.

The Italians Come to the Table

Tutti Gli Italiani Venite Alla Tavola

A bird's nest
of pasta
curled and coated
with the standard bearers,
frivolous Lemon and common Basil.

Lolling on top,
are fat, sleek mushrooms,
showing their petticoat

Listen closely,
and you can hear,
Lemon singing "Rigoletto"
and Basil (the peasant chorus)

La-La-La-ing from the sidelines.