Miles of Life and Death on the Rez

by Brian Jones

Added 20 February 1999

Racing through the Rez
without seeming to be.
It seems so vast that no speed
is too fast to cross it.

(And yet it is so much smaller than it should be.
Hopefully ancestors understand
the transitory way of the living
and the persistence of breath.)

This transitioned territory
is life-giving during the day.
It is life
at two in the morning

The moon illumines the many dead
that breathe essence into
the floating mist
that tolerates my presence.

No live thing rises above the haze
except for the plateaus of shale
and sandstone that give
their glory piecemeal to the desert floor

then to be carried away
by those still older beings
of wind and water.
Hope to all.

Traveling here they both
give to me a present
of no day or night, nor days and weeks.
Instead there is only the way of life.

The breath of the land,
mingled as it is with ancestors,
enters with a cool passion of being
and exits with hot corruption to be cleansed.

The blood of the land
courses through my heart
and transports this floating body
down a deep path of remembering rock.

The breath of the land
sweeps clear the smoke choked
caves of thought that
lost their access to the world.

The blood of the land caringly cradles
those thoughts away with the sediment of ages
to where they belong,
near at hand but far away from here.

Miles of road. Miles of river.
Miles of life and death on the Rez.
And only one thought continues on
with me through each and every one.

The one thing still wanted, still cherished
is the love and company of the only
one found who embodies
this place in my soul.

Written September 1998

U.S. Copyright # Txu 728-358