On December 22, 1882, an old newspaper
reports a demented woman was sent from Georgetown
to the Grant County Jail.
Sheriff Whitehill is at a loss,
New Mexico law makes no provision for paupers or the insane.
Her name, where she was born, or if she had a sister
who loved flowering dogwood branches
are secrets lost among the broken colored glass,
the pioneer tears
I've gathered among fallen mining shacks.
I wonder if it was the brothel.
If it was one man, or one-hundred.
If it was a small crack in a treasured Tiffany lamp
that split her like kindling.
Or the disease of a season,
not too far from midnight singing to the mountain
mahogany, maybe taking a small one for a child
to forget the one in the cemetery.
I wonder if she went to California, on
one of those wagonloads of the insane.
Someday I'd like to make a stained glass window
from these sharp tears I've stolen
from the earth.
But it would never go inside a church.
It would hang against the sky,
in memory of everyone who broke.