N  a  p a  l  m     H  e  a  l  t  h     S  p  a  :     R  e  p  o  r  t     2  0  1  2






Gathered at the river


     Lying in bed, me here, dreaming of lost happiness. Thinking of the sad faced girl who wants me to dye my hair purple. Thinking of soft rosettes, patiently sewn onto children's blankets, by deft fingers of headbent women. Blanketed babies with bright button noses, snug as the larvae of tent caterpillars. Me, lying here under heavy clouds, a memory pressed down, pinning me to the bed


     I can't move and I get to thinking what it would be like to be dead and alive at the same time in a coffin and how I’d like a bell tied to my forefinger like the Victorians, so if I was dead and alive my finger would twitch, set the bell ringing. I get to thinking, as I lie here watching heavy clouds line up against the sides of mountains, of the time I peered over a sandstone ridge, up high somewhere in that inscrutable place where earth meets sky


     how I looked down on a green river, watched cattle bathing. Heard the sound of a thousand voices singing, let's all gather at the river. How their voices shook the sandstone ridge and great blocks of New Mexican desert and how I scuttled back from that bloodred ridge, heard the first block of stone clatter down to the river belly, heard the stampede of cattle, whoosh of the river grown into a flood like a pregnant woman's broken waters.