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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 And Karma readers that since childhood his IQ has measured in the 78-86 range and 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, and many other poetry and disability  publications. He is working on a memoir reflecting his experiences as a differently abled human being.