A Knife at the Crossroads in Chimayó

to stop the savage dogs
to cut away the old growth
to forge a painless birth
to warn outsiders they are welcome to the tooth
to abandon the spirit
to slice bread or your throat
to make a cradle safe
to keep the warrior, buried
to obstruct nightmare
to sever friendship, or, if not—to trade
for dove or coin or another small thing
to imitate white mica glinting in red hills
to imitate your teeth grinning in your red mouth
to determine the best course of action with a blind throw
(right is with the lord; left and someone’s done for)
to revere the first tool, the flint blade
to mark the way of he who follows the sun, to skin
the moon (your hard work is for nothing)
to draw magnets from the ground below
to call forth the flood

By Meghan Maguire Dahn