Letter: ‘The Malpais’

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Editor’s note: This poem was submitted with a letter from an Arizona resident whose family owns a historic cabin near Taos.

A lava flow is not an even thing

It hardens rough; air bubbles and sworls

If you hike on it, you’ll likely cut yourself,

For it’s not molten, anymore, but tough.

A smooth, smooth road rolls by it

Cars of steel with sentient eyes

Ride the asphal track

An aspen hovers in a patch of soil,

A rasping raven cuts the cold air.

The mother mountain, cloven,

Looks down with regal frown.

Any year now, any century, any millennium

She’ll fling forth a coverlet for the Malpais

child.

– Joleen Ovend, Arizona

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