by Larry Brody
NOTE FROM LB
The Navajo Dog revisits! I knew she loved us far too much to stay away!
Another Day, On The Pueblo
For a time, I lived on the Santa Clara Pueblo,
About halfway between Taos and Santa Fe.
The house was in the shadow of sacred
Black Mesa, and directly in front of the door
Was a ceremonial kiva, a relic of the old ways.
Cattle grazed freely on the land, and among them
Roamed Boomer the Golden Retriever and,
When it suited her whim, the little red-and-white
At night, when it was warm enough, my love
And I would sit by the kiva and eat dinner, while
Gazing up at the dancing stars. The heavens
Seemed afire with gyring dervishes,
Spinning and careening from North to South,
And often Gwen would ask, “But what are they?
Why do they dance? Who sent them? Where
Are they from?” I would deal with this as I
Dealt with all such questions, and shake my
Head and say, “Wait…” and “Watch…”
As not so long before had been said to me,
For I knew that like me, someday
She would find the answer herself.
I remember one Spring afternoon, before Gwen
Came to join the dogs and me, I went outside to
Bask in the warm sun. I spread a towel
On the ground and lay on my back. Above me,
The sky was a deep New Mexico blue,
And in it a single cloud floated, so low
I thought it was awaiting my touch.
Suddenly, I felt a chill, and realized
It came from the kiva, which had not been used
In almost a hundred years. I felt a panic, a
Sense of loss that seized me so tightly I scarcely
Could breathe, and I called out for the Navajo dog.
When I got no answer, I called again, and again,
And still several times more. At last, Boomer
Appeared to be petted, but there was no sign of
The Navajo dog. Then I heard her voice,
Coming from the kiva, like the voice of a god.
“I travel,” sang the voice of the Navajo dog. “I journey.
I fly with my brother the wind.
I am off,” sang the voice, “with a rush and a whisper,
With a whoop and a roar.”
“But I need you!” I said. “You can’t go. What would
I do? How would I live?”
“Like yourself,” came the voice of the Navajo dog.
“You would live as you must.”
“I must live with you!”
“Cowardly boy,” sang the voice from the kiva,
“Don’t you know what you don’t need?
You are healed! All is over, yet all begins!”
I moved to the edge of the kiva, peered
Down at the darkness within. “I’m not
Ready!” I cried, and I heard the laugh of
The Navajo dog. “You think to fool she
Who loves you, who created you, with
Such a weak lie? Tell yourself false
Stories, if you must, craven son, but you
Know far more than you believe!
Now stand straight,” sang her voice.
“Walk in beauty. Go on, take the step. You
Have set yourself free.” Beside me, Boomer
Whined—and so did I: “Will I see you again?
Will you ever return?” But no answer came.
I heard the end of the song, the last striking
Of Mother Earth’s drum, then another laugh,
And Boomer cried. I shivered, and started back
To the house, reached down to stroke him, but
Now he too was gone. I turned, and saw him running
To the far end of the field, and just as suddenly
As the panic had struck I felt it go.
The golden retriever was running to the
She was coming down the road that led
To the highway, striding as only she can.
Boomer nosed her, and she snapped him
Away, trotted to the kiva, where she sat
Down and scratched. “That towel looks
More comfortable than dirt,” said the Navajo
Dog. “You want to sit on it?” I said.
Her tongue lolled. “What I want is to see the
Fruit of my womb,” said the dog. “What I want
Is to watch you, and let myself swell with pride.
It’s my due! I’ve earned it! I deserve my reward.
Then,” she said, “then, ah, just watch my soul fly!”
With a yip, the Navajo dog bounded off, and Boomer
Followed. I watched them go, then lay down on my
Towel, stretched out my arm toward the cloud.
It felt soft, like the fleece it resembled,
And I moved it away easily,
So I could enjoy the sun.
Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.