That afternoon we moved through Taos Pueblo,
the oldest continuously inhabited human dwelling
in North America, learning what it is to live together,
a good thing to try and make sense of on a honeymoon.
We crossed light-burnished Red Willow Creek. Skies
had blackened to the south in the direction of Santa Fe.
We ventured into dim shops to handle silver artifacts,
eat frybread, and came out to the first huge droplets
of a thunderstorm. Arrows of lightning rained down
from the clouds above arroyos, star-bright branchings
of no discernible intelligent design loosed and blazing
and vanished in an instant. The strikes were in the hills
above the Taos street where Kit Carson had lived once.
We ducked for cover inside a rental car. You shivered
as I started the engine and rolled down a window. Lit
a cigar I’d bought in Santa Fe, the leaf-scent a thing
a passing Tiwa man said was pleasant and welcome.
All this was years ago, and my memory plays tricks.
Maybe the Tiwa man said nothing but only looked
in our direction—these beings who move as one—
and I learned what humans have always known or
might learn on any given afternoon in New Mexico:
that we are all just trying to come in out of the rain,
visiting for such a brief time under the turning sky.
Roy Bentley won a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the NEA, fellowships from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and Ohio Arts Council (six from the OAC), and has published four books: Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama), Any One Man (Bottom Dog), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House). He lives in Ohio and writes full-time.