Women sat,
forming pots
on the lips
of open mouthed caves,
rolled thin clay snakes
between their pink palms,
connected spirals, coiled
them with deft fingers
until vessels appeared.
Bundled infants slept
and children pretended.

Desiccated rims were left
again to the Cliff Swallows
and Rock Wrens.
Tardy clouds gushed
and were shredded into strips
of Evening Primrose light.
Shady grottoes slipped in
between sandstone cliffs,
softened by Slender lip fern.
Monkey flower clung
to the moisture.

Now potsherds surface
like broken teeth
spit from the burnt-umber earth,
with the sparse Arrow Grass
and spent purplish heads
of the Foxtail Chess.
Shards emerge
in irregular shapes,
protrude from ravines
or between the exposed
roots of Juniper; they
come forth with gapped-toothed
grins beneath the Mesquite.
Still showing faded ochers,
or zigzagged designs
and all of them knowing
how it feels to hold water.

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