Sunday, 12 September 2021


An Albuquerque Memory

by Nancy Harris McLelland

During my evening walks down Phoenix Avenue
I notice him sitting in a faded white lawn chair—
black work pants, dark shirt tightly buttoned,  
his neck lean as a sunflower stem.

Un abuelo moved into the city,
bearing heat and Albuquerque noise,
his profile simple as a sheep hook,
probably a pastor all his life.

I like to think he hears the tinkle 
of the bellwether, the bark of his dog,
the murmuring bleats of his herd,
the sound of wind in aspen trees.

Probably it’s his daughter who calls, Cena!
Two laughing children help him from his chair.
And then I remember my own grandfather
dying alone in a place called, “the old folks’ home.”

* * * * *

Nancy Harris McLelland received her MA in Literature from UNM in 1973. She remembers being in a graduate poetry writing class with Joy Harjo, as well as summers camped in the Nacimiento Mountains and winters in Albuquerque. She publishes poetry and memoir on her blog, WritingfromSpace: Accessible through her Facebook page Tuscarora Writers Retreats.

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