The eastern sky
stands blue behind the Sandia Mountains,
but in the west a thunderhead approaches.
Teresa Chino comes down
from the mesa
to dig fresh clay for her pottery.
After the day’s work,
tired from the carry and the walk,
she climbs the sandstone stairs to Sky City,
ancient Acoma pueblo.
She looks forward to her daughter’s tea
made in the blue kettle:
they eat bread baked in a clay oven,
and strips of elk cooked all day
with carrots, potatoes, and wild onions.
In the evening, in sand by the door,
they draw designs
lit by moonlight and firelight,
their eyes in shadow, their hearts free.
The next morning,
they grind the stone.
In the weeks ahead,
she will teach her daughter
the secrets of pottery.
Teresa prays to the sun and the stars –
May her temper give her making strength
and the hard will of the Acoma way.
May her spirit give her making beauty.
In the evening, as we listen to the kee kee yah
of hawk coaxing black rabbit,
may you guide me in my lessons.
May we have rain and a cool wind tomorrow.