Fifth Estate # 411, Spring, 2022

Three sisters

Sit in judgment-

Darkly, mutely on the mesa,

Apportioned their appointed part

In the cosmic monotony.


A man is shot dead

On ancestral lands (now

“Ran” by the national park

service) praying to

The four directions, hand

On his chest & over

The heart. Belligerent

At the command to leave,

Maybe, but O,

Why not?


Three sisters

Their anger ancient,

Volcanic, a memory of heat,

Magma, and unearthly desire.

The ground around

Is soaked in blood, but

Who owes who?

And what?


Cacti grow

In the cracks

Of black rocks,

Spray bright red flowers

To the sky

In a flood of camaraderie

With the dead, gone.

Nick DePascal is a poet and high school teacher in Albuquerque.