Linda Boyden

To The Young Couple 

In The Booth Across From Me

 

You looked into

each other’s eyes

while above you

five televisions

blared five different

games and around you

Friday Night Happy Hour

cursed and howled and

waitresses in short kilts and

kneesocks danced past you

blouses molded to their breasts

buttons strained

trays balanced on hands or hips

the bar reverberating with

laughter

shouts

table slappings

chair scrapings

through all of this

you held each other

with your eyes

never touching

not with fingers or legs

you held each other

with your eyes

and made love

in a sacred way.

 

 

 

 

Tsisdu on the Desert 

 

I smell sage and dust on the wind

spliced with the heat of the baked tarmac

and the tang of nail polish;

not much else to do but paint toenails,

one foot drying, the other

propped on the glove box

as we cruise the endless highway

heading nowhere special

just out driving

when a jack rabbit bounds

across the road,

you swerve and cuss,

gear down as

we tool off road

and into the sagebrush.

 

We bounce a fair distance,

the pickup snapping our bones

better than any chiropractor

our go-cups of wine spatter our jeans

the nail polish puddles the floor mat.

 

With a final lurch, the truck stalls

and I fall against your shoulder.

Out the windows a cloud of dust

settles on us like fresh snow.

All we can do is laugh at ourselves

and how Tsisdu, the rabbit, tricked us good.

 

You ask, Think the truckll start?

I raise an eyebrow, say nothing,

lay back against the seat,

still catching my breath.

From the west the wind picks up,

carrying the tart aroma of Honey Lake.

 

You wipe dust from my eyebrows.

I smell the fresh scent of your skin,

the linger of soap in your shirt,

taste the wintergreen on your lips.

 

Later as we drive back to town

I think to tell Rabbit, thanks, I owe you one.

 

 

 

Then Will I Stand

 

Night window, dark,

his profile etched

by the streetlight

he sits, hunched

in the wheelchair

hands clasped on top

of the warrior blanket

of stripes and buffaloes

I bought to ease his chills.

 

We wait for it to snow

though it is too cold.

We wait together

holding hands

we wait for the inevitable

for his long march to the stars.

 

Then will I stand,

his blanket around

my shoulders.

Then will I stand

under the myriad of stars

and hunt for his, for him.

Then will the wind bite

my cheeks and fingers.

Then will I bury my tears

in his blanket,

smell his memory,

hear his laughter.

 

Then will I stand

under the falling snow.

 

 

 

 

Author, storyteller, illustrator and poet, Linda Boyden is the author of The Blue Roses (Lee & Low Books, 2002).  She is a winner of the New Voices Award, the Paterson Prize, and Wordcraft Circle's Book of the Year for 2003.  Her first illustrated book, Powwow's Coming (University of New Mexico Press, 2007), is included on Reading Is Fundamental's 2011 Multicultural Book List.

Giveaways, An ABC Book of Loanwords from the Americas
(University of New Mexico Press), was a finalist for three International Book Awards and two New Mexico Book Awards, and was included in 2012 California Collections from the California Reading Association.

Boyden’s latest work includes Boy and Poi Poi Puppy (2013); Roxy Reindeer (2014), Winner of a Mom’s Choice Award; and Boy and PoiPoi Puppy, in Doggone!”(2016).