Low Expectations

I condone bad behavior
Thieving shoe prints dust my jeans
Boost tweed sport coat sticky fingers
Into greasy lint lined ventilation ducts

I have settled with defeat
Imagine brown calves backs
Drained into Nikes, Adidas, Pumas
Noses thrust minutes before mine

I agree, with your decision
Lopsided cakes I bake, disintegrate
Under heavy-handed butter cream swoops
Sunken, uncooked centers tempt bacteria

Now I depart, bundle only water and a moment
one small morsel slipped into silk
embroidered pockets, blossom fragment--FINALLY
stand at chasm edge, foreign lands for you
I only knew you then


carmel lady
by t.zoey.benally

wandered isles
stainless racks
no high fructose here

she would like this salt
shaker, lady bug in reverse
with armed pepper grinder

i know where everything is
in her house, home even to me
cornflower wal-mart bags saved

wicker baskets, metal mesh
flowers explode
around her private cafe

gentle oasis, lets me think it's home
i order what she would order
but subtitute soy for milk


he plays with dolls
by t. zoey benally

smooth stained wood floors were best
his favorite spot to play with dolls
he pretended it was a great mansion
he felt his mother's smile quiet
approval rained down from her face
cleansed his child soul

he had his favorites, lined them up
around him, the royal guard
he loved them most, smooth nylon strings
named them Babette & Colette
he like their first names to rhyme
with their last, Marionette

he often wondered, if he had a sister
would he be less devoted to Marionette sisters
would Barbie and her hot rod, glittered
knee socks and predisposition for cherry stilettos
lure him away from his wooden puppets
leave them in a tangled Pinnochio pile

sometimes he wished they would talk
arms ached, shoulders burned, mind
often tired from constant motion
and pretend required of him
but they never let him down, they were
flawless, prefect wooden cheeks
bright painted smiles


aftermath shiprock fair
by t. zoey benally

cocoa flavored greasy sugar spread
filled concrete pores with sticky sand grains
two weeks ago the cousins had all dove
risked slip & slide through fresh green manure
dropped by undersized council delegate steeds
ants chipped tootsie roll crystals from sidewalk badlands
dissolved and carried to underground lairs

she dumped kerosene over the pile of trash
she didn't want panty remnants to blow flaming
across the harvested fields, start dried cornhusk fires
saggy darkened balloon three days after a birthday party
is how she felt, starved, not having eaten
nothing since that cooler full of burritos
systematically eliminated, stomach rumbles
started soon after, then squirts from both ends

extinct mini arroyos identified by stained soil
source long since towed away, perhaps to Tuba City
prairie dogs finally brave enough
crawled out of burrows, summer remnant snacks
rotten shish-ka-bob stink clung to tan fur
despite technologic tunnel advances
deeper tunnels, drains for sewage
to keep sleep chambers & food storage dry
historic fair trauma, a decade minus seven


two years ago today
by t. zoey b.

two years ago today
baboose first laughed
i was exhausted then too
and couldn't find the energy
didn't care if anyone went to school

sister left to wash her face
she took the rose pink towel
and walked to the old house
of course she slammed the door
rattled all 40 feet of white trailer metal

10 o'clock sun heated bed exposed to glass window
brother and i stretched out, a nice contrast
hot sheets & blankets soaked in ultraviolet
cool autumn air welcomed by yei bi cheis
a week earlier, chilled our hands & noses

how many other october 10s had there been?
10-10s without baby, without her chubby feet
waved in the air, brother & i made goofy faces
jumped like monkeys, smiled like spiders
but it was sister who leapt from behind
the clothes, pouncing tiger, playful kitten
who finally made baby laugh


the fair

thi past weekend was THE fair. i grew up here in downtown, oldtown Shiprock. the parade has always been down the hill from my house.

i worked all weekend. i'm tired. i have lots that i could potentially say, but i am tired. i am tired and uninteresting. i want someone to tell me stories. i need time for my battery to recharge.