3 a.m.

In the dream there are playing cards featuring the works of Picasso,
reminding me with every hand that to paint to imagine to write is the
only antidote to despair and spiraling loss. There are players at the table who
sing out their bids; there are players at the table who trump with a prayer. The
room is dense with a hanging garden of anthuriums and orchids, filled with
ruby-throated hummingbirds returned from their winter in Mexico, an annual
symbol of hope. The man in the long black coat offers me the cut, and I
shuffle Femme a la montre with Femme assise a la montre, smiling,
avoiding, not answering the question on the table of what was it I wanted
when I first came to play.

  Snow Angels

  snow angels             
  on a silent             
  sure that they're         
  & sure that they're
  searching for               
  love &                      
  justice & grace             
  fast in their
  and leaving no
  trusting in
  who made them
  with faith
  dancing in
  arising like
  spreading their
  back into fine
  regaining composure
  'til dawn,
       for a while.


I would have to be crazy
to be in love with you       a falling through the darkness     and changing colors at dawn     kind of mad           I would have to be crazy in love   because I am small and soft and fragile like a lover's kiss after untamed sex       are you willing to walk     on my captivity     to you?           because I am small and in love   I would have to dance lightly on the river of time in the hope of staying alive       avoiding the branches hung     with small silver bells     of silence           I would have to dance lightly with love   some kinds of madness are destructive, still others productive -- I live somewhere in between       visited on the edge by music     spilling out of windows over     shadowed dreams           some kinds of madness are love.               I would have to paint blue streaks on my sky of belonging             I would have to forget you to know where I've gone             I would have to be crazy in love.

Never Summer

Hiking the Never Summer Trail
high above the Colorado River
     where the stars
                kiss the sky
                     near two miles high
I find I cannot remember
how        to breathe.

If I look ahead
I see only challenges
I can never meet.
If I look back over
my shoulder to the past
there are holes of
loss and sorrow so deep,
                             so deep
that with one misstep
one slip of memory  
I will tumble down
past the indian-paintbrush blossoms,
through the columbine meadows
toward the treacherous
childhood land
where things were never quite
as they seemed.

Ni-chebe-chii the Arapahos named
these mountains  -- No never summer
they said, and they knew
that you can walk
in the shadows
for a lifetime and never get warm,
never find the sun, never hear the music
that will dance you forward and keep you
safe from free-falling darkness; yet they
                                                       moved on.

How can I take one more step
without the oxygen to breathe?
How can I get past my fear of motion
and not miss the beauty
of the pink and purple monkey-flowers
that are offered to my vision
every single day, saying, yes,
today there is love and there is
beauty and it is mine for the taking
if only I can remember how       to breathe.

I have known rivers and I have known
love, unstoppable currents rushing down,
smashing against the rocks before
flowing out of sight. Without
the sound of breath I can hear
the whisper of the questions
being asked of me  --

  when did you stop dancing? when
  did you stop singing? when did
  you become so important?

The silence slows
and I stand blinded
beneath the sudden brilliant sun
and begin   
       to laugh.



Bio: Susannah Indigo is the editor of Slow Trains Literary Journal and also the editor-in-chief of Clean Sheets Magazine. See more at her Web page.