Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.

Two Poems

by Judyth Hill

APB for Woman, Whereabouts Unknown
 
There’s a fault line where my hands should be.
I need a map to my body, a set of directions,   
the legend, a key.      
 
This earthbody came with no clues for assembly,
No operating instructions. Is not user friendly,
 
No guidelines, no bull’s-eye, just crosshairs.
Maybe it is a starter kit.
 
The distance from my body to a weather vane can be measured in long lost buttons
 and pulsar. The tag says, Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law.
Adult supervision required.
 
Some days it’s a scavenger hunt,
my feet leave me clues,
We are somewhere in the vicinity of the floor, they say.
They say right, and wrong,
Oh, we mean left, then turn, and in you are again,
visiting that household of self.
 
You’re a bad guest, they say. Leave us with no word.
 
Excuses for losing my hands include:
Nana’s tool for coring apples, bells tolling in quiet gardens, too many vowels.
I can’t hold a knife or bowl, or this world, or my lover.  Never could.
 
To find my hands is a daily quest:
Were they last seen round a steering wheel in America?
Carrying my baby? Where did I leave them? I wouldn’t know.
 
My mind is elsewhere, on invisible tulips, the bulbs, swelling underneath soft,
somewhere I am clearly not, and my knees know the twist of seek,
my neck the deceit of turn, the trick of turn away.
 
In a blink of an eye, you are off the map.
Here there be monsters, the ancient ones say.
 
If I could collect maps, I would have portolans: read the shoals and depths,
the reaches too shallow for the keel of the boat.
I’d solve the questions of rudder and course with taut skins,
scraped translucent, the shorelines and coasts clear.
 
I am already pirate, in love with parrots and booty, stolen goods,
hard tack eaten in the company of Captains,
whose bed I almost share with this body I almost live in.
 
I know when I left, and it was easy, no ten day Vipassana: there was no cling and pry here.
I just followed my gaze with eyes closed, got gone and made a home in lost.
I wear nowhere like a coat, and my hands look for me.
 
I am on the other end, with the destiny of polar bears,
 and the words on this page. My name lives in someone’s mouth
called from somewhere far.

History Threw Him a Curve
   
Einstein's hat was beaverskin. He laid it, sighing Jewishishly, on the worn green slats
of the bench in the Plaza of Old Las Vegas.
He was tired. The mysteries of the universe & a perverse longing for a tuna fish on rye
had done him in.
Time in her most unfathomable relationship to light was nothing compared to his new question.
What, he wondered, was for lunch?
And who would know if he did not?
A girl with pale skin, 2 long black as black braids and abrupt bones
came by his bench.
It was Georgia O’Keeffe in a space/time simultaneity.
She was bouncing a big inflated ball, the kind that will cost $1 in Safeway, 30 years later.
A my name is Andromeda, she is chanting, and I come from Arcturus, and
I sell…
She shot him a look that saw it all.
You're on the wrong track, she laughed, and ran off into her Abuiqui
future, giggling, a vague impression of the inner works of flowers in
her mind.
Einstein saw a newspaper half in and half out of next month.
He was afraid to look, afraid to look, stole your mother's...
BLT, he thinks. Enchilada with an egg?
He wants to forgive J. Robert Oppenheimer, but it's too soon.
He wants to stop Hiroshima, but it's too late.
Fried egg and cheese on a croissant
from a fast food chain that won't be there for another 12 years?
Inside the gazebo, he notices a leather suitcase, locked, with the key
on a strap, attached to the handle.
Every question comes with its own answer, he thinks, and strolls off to
El Rialto for a stuffed sopapilla, extra green, a tart margarita with
salt.
Just then, a Guernsey, without a lick of permission, jumped delicately
over the moon, an animal we can all predict burst into tears, and a
satellite dish, under the momentary delusion that it was fated to marry
a hovercraft, twirled in its cement bed, tuning the unsuspecting Armijo
clan into a scene of family life on the Jupiter sub moon, Io.
Little Felicia was stunned to discover, we are not alone.
Einstein hunched over his steaming posole, studded with poignant bits of
red chile.
He looked out the window and saw all the way from Felicia's moon to 
the cow skull turning to bone, and knew he was.
    
    
Judyth Hill, poet, editor, teacher, is the author of nine published books of poetry and the internationally acclaimed poem, Wage Peace, published worldwide; set to music, performed and recorded by national choirs and orchestras.
She is the current President of PEN San Miguel. Hill conducts poetry and memoir workshops at conferences world-round, including the San Miguel Writers Conference, and leads global WildWriting Culinary Adventures. Judyth was described by the St. Helena Examiner as, "Energy with skin” and by the Denver Post as, “A tigress with a pen”.