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The Burnt Plain
by Grant Wasden

Llano Quemado—the burnt plain
Open land defines this place
Sagebrush covers with little rain
And small rifts etch its face

The far horizon takes a stand
Where layered mountains reside
In this shadowed distant band
An occasional peak abides

A thousand years ago
Red Willow People adopted this land
Building the ancient Pueblo
A home of clay, straw, and sand

Above pink earth raptors fly
Scanning for prey to snare
While riding thermals in the sky
Maybe a prairie dog, perhaps a hare

The mighty Rio Grande passes deep
Through a gorge that runs far
Carving a chasm quite steep
Giving the plain a magnificent scar

Alabaster clouds stroll by
Across the heavens drifting
Against a powder blue sky
Floating, lifting, shifting

Summer clouds turn dark grey
Bringing rain in the afternoon
Lightning and thunder along the way
It's called the New Mexico monsoon

"Walking rain" from clouds appear
Water that never reaches earth
Strings of moisture simply disappear
When parched air absorbs the dearth

When the sun says goodnight
As clouds reflect its parting glow
Fire in the sky burns bright
The Land of Enchantment puts on a show


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