In the Balance

We were late to begin with
when a man named Wisdom
brimmed with invitation
to a Hopi butterfly dance,
a sacred ceremony
on a sandy byway down the road.
Every pueblo around the plaza
would feed us. We were honored
and yearned to go.

We pondered this golden chance,
glowing with hope while shoving our clothes
into bags zipped and stacked
against the ambivalence of the room.
It would be beautiful, a slow reverence
dancing us forever calm.

We had to be long gone by noon.

Our van was low to the ground,
we knew, and a truck or a bus
could park in the space
for our ramp. Your chair
would balk in the sand. By sad
default we chose the canyon rim,
and then the frenzied thoroughfare.

You transferred to the van’s
front seat, while I sat on the curb,
feet in the dirt, blue shadow
basking in Moenkopi warmth,
Wisdom’s appeal.
Blessing enough, for now.

Carol L. Deering lives in Riverton, Wyoming, and has twice received the Wyoming Arts Council Poetry Fellowship (2016, judge Rebecca Foust; 1999, judge Agha Shahid Ali). Her poetry appears in online and traditional journals, and in the recent anthology Blood, Water, Wind & Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers. https://www.caroldeering.com