The sky is bluest
in the clean, thin mountain air
of Santa Fe.
Seven days in the city
of Holy Faith,
but my faith is anything but holy.
It's 3:30 a.m.
The cottonwood's roots are buried deep
underneath the adobe house.
Its arms scrape the skylight.
Raindrops tap against the window.
She sighs and says,
"I always loved you."
I roll out of bed
and, in the dark, reach for my clothes.
By 4:30 a.m. I'm on the road to Albuquerque.
My thoughts are on the hot air balloon
that, for awhile,
will suspend me above earth,
above the candle burning on the horizon,
above the rattle and hiss of the world.
The clouds are icebergs
floating in an azure sea
carried past Sandia peak.
"How's the weather in Chicago,"
the pilot asks.
"Heat wave is blasting the city," I reply.
"My brother says the sky is hazy, dirty."
"Do you like the Midwest," he continues.
I shrug, " I love the city."
The roar of the flame drowns my voice,
and the hot air balloon rises.
My thoughts are of the adobe house
at the foot of Cristo De Sangre mountains
and the soft warm body waiting for me.
"I drove by Chicago back in '94," the pilot says,
"So, how do you like living in the Midwest?"
The balloon brushes a tree top,
the Tampa Bay newlyweds squeal.
I shrug, "It's okay."
No one listens.
Coyote sings to the vanishing moon
then streaks across open space.
The young lovers scream with excitement.
"So, how do you like Chicago,"
the pilot asks.
I mumble, "I loved a woman there once."
But no one cares,
as the hot air balloon descends
and the land of enchantment unfolds
before an ascending sun.