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by Doug May

From the

visitor center

we watched a truck

ford a trickle

of bony cows

the supervisor’s finger

tracing the way

across drought-stricken

mesas and gullies.

Bouncing like lamps we took

one wrong fork after another

finding no evidence

of Awatovi

until late in afternoon

stumbling out of a

lurching switchback

into a wire fence

a Keep Out sign

and hot dog wrappers

scattered beneath

smudged blackboards

of clouds.

In 1700 they’d come

by darkness during

the Wuwuchim,

the people of peace

led by a renegade priest

flinging torches

of cedar and corn silk

into kivas where

foreign gods ruled

fractured clans.

The old Hopis

won’t talk about


believing it to be

a place cursed

by the restless dead

the same unsmiling ones

who burned

a peasant girl

in the marketplace

of Rouen

(and when I tried

to steal a witness

and transform loss

into a keepsake

on a dusty shelf

it turned into

a little black


slithering between

my fingers

leaving only

charred ladders

of weeping).


Doug May is a proud member of the neurodivergent community.  He would like to share with Strangers & Karma readers that since childhood his IQ has measured in the 78-86 range & he has also been treated for ADHD. He has worked a lot of different unskilled jobs, while his poetry has appeared in Breath And Shadow, Wordgathering, Raw Art Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cathexis Northwest, & many other poetry & disability publications. He is working on a memoir reflecting his experiences as a differently abled human being.