Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Another Day, On The Pueblo’

 by Larry Brody


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
Navajo dog.

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

Navajo dog!

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.