By Ellen Chavez Kelley

Taos, NM 2009

They say that you belong here
only if you can see the face
of Taos Mountain so every day I look
but do not belong.

In front of me in the checkout line
stands a man, solid and strong
but his stiff side won't bend
won't allow him to lift

the groceries he's pushed this far
so I say to him I can help
and he turns to me
though I can see
that even this motion
strains him

as he whispers thank you.
In his face I see
bald, burned patches of combat,
wildfires on the ridge.
I see 
the face of a mountain.

Ellen Chavez Kelley, teaches poetry at UCSB and through California Poets in the Schools. Publications include Song for Highway 40 (Turning Point, 2012) and In the Body of the Grove (2008). Ellen’s picture book My Life as a Chicken (Harcourt, 2012) was a finalist for the California Young Readers Award. Also by this poet: "Elegy for the Groves" and "Red Horse"