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  • Manifest West: Different Roads

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    My poem: “County Road 80” about a New Mexico Sephardic Jew appears in Manifest West: Different Roads (Pub: University Press of Colorado) an anthology that reflects both “the myth and the truth about what we call the ‘West.” The editors of Different Roads remind us that our “strength lies in differences, not in similarities,” what Stanley Baldwin refers to as “the many-sidedness of truth.————

    COUNTY ROAD 80———–

    Between Cordova and Truchas,
    el hombre
    looks skyward, wizened,
    blinded by the sun’s flux,
    in honor of that birth-marked
    wiry muscled
    clan clawing desiccated soil
    from an Iberian enclave,
    where Aramaic
    voices echoed in ancient temples,
    Sephardic fathers’ fathers
    escaped
    clinging
    to moth-eaten lanyards
    put out to sea, westerly,
    to navigate the flotsam
    of leftover queens, conquistadors,
    of fame, gold, salvation,
    that collapsed
    una civilización,
    a demise not dignified by glorious battle
    or solemn mass, but wasted,
    waiting to dispose those in monk’s clothes,
    those who plundered and stole, tomes, trinkets,
    el número cero,
    never to gain the language.
    El hombre lives,
    crypt-like,
    Shabbat candle-waiting stars, salted meat,
    middle-rooms swept, linen cloth and spices
    winding the dead,
    their names buried in graves across
    l’arroyo,
    on County Road 80
    between
    Cordova and Truchas
    invincible, he remains—
    mi abuelo.

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