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Tony Reevy

  

Stalking Asparagus officinalis,
Socorro, New Mexico, 1970

Below the station,
picking wild asparagus.
The spears are
thin, just pale green.
There’s a creosote
smell from the tracks.

The loud voice behind
us is rushing water
in the irrigation canal.
It grinds up kids, Mom
says, and spits them out
downstream.

The Rio Grande beyond
is barren, a great
sand box, play-
ground of snakes and
coyotes. But Hatch
has its chilies

and the brown water
runs through acequias,
under roads, into
backyard gardens in
town. That and the
sun brings melons,
corn, squash, peppers
green and red.


In my dreams, the
backyard gardens
still grow, the burros
are corralled along
dirt alleys in town, and
the river runs full.

But the asparagus—
straight, short,
succulent shoots,
unpicked, goes to
dimmed, woody seed.

  

  

In Mountain Lion Country

Winter meant piñon nuts.

The drive on highway
60, up from Rio Grande
to the peaks,

ruined smelter, rusted
branch line falling away
as our station wagon
climbs.

Then, rutted road to the
ghost town—hardly a
shed, much less a house.

Just above, shrubby
green trees:

piñon pines.

In their cones, the
brown nuts.

I stumble, my
tiny sisters toddle.

We shake the nuts
into bags, dreaming of
biscochitos, posadas,
the Christmas tree.

Mom and Dad watch.

Snakes are denned
for the season, but

cougars stir
in the hills,

the rusty tipple
rattles,

the mine tunnel
gapes.

Better to stay with
the piñons.

Leave tailings, wire
ropes, shafts
to the miners

whose bones
lie in town
or below.

   

Tony Reevy, a graduate of North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill and Miami University, is associate director for advancement of the Carolina Environmental Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His books are Ghost Train! American Railroad Ghost Legends, A Directory of North Carolina’s Railroad Structures (with Art Peterson and Sonny Dowdy), Green Cove Stop: Poems and Magdalena. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife Caroline Weaver and children Lindley and Ian.
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