Kenneth P. Gurney


First, I must confirm
that the crows flock to your window.

They form a shadow
that some find threatening
and others a comfort.

The shadow changes constantly
but most people claim
that they see death in the blackness.

You claim it is your own death
you see in their wings,
but you say they are the white wings
of the angel that is your mother
in the fullness of her youth.

Second, I must confirm
that you are on the doorstep,
that your cancer has proceeded
to a point of no return
to your body, this life we shared.

It is time, you said, for you to begin
your education of the afterlife
and to give back your water
to the clouds.

Third, I must report
that you are wildly happy
to be punching the time clock
as you will to me
any gold that is in your body—
a trace metal I believe
collected in your eyes
to sparkle and glint
when you looked at me
with that loving smile of yours.

In the desert
you smell the rain storms
before they reach
the horizon.

Salt-tinged, they taste of hope.

The magpies
and curve-billed thrashers
shimmer in the heat
that bends the highway.

This sun distorts my affections.

The scent of sage, juniper
shear the bailing wire
constricting time.

I slide into an echo and swim.
Taos Canyon was first published in The Cliffs: Soundings, Summer, 2005
and in Kenneth Gurney's book, Writer's Block, 2009.
Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, NM, USA with his beloved Dianne.
He edits the anthology Adobe Walls which contains the poetry of New Mexico.
His latest book is This is not Black & White. To learn more visit


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