Get Your Premium Membership

When the Weight of the Sky Pushed Them Down

I've been doing my current job for 32 years; lots of travel, places and people. A few memories stick out; my own Book of Hours, it would be almost one per year. The first job I was on was Four Corners Power Plant, near Farmington, New Mexico, on Navajo Nation land, where the turbines brought electricity to the people, and the smokestacks brought death to the indigo plants in the area. Shiprock, the volcanic mountain, stands to the west. I was working the nightshift, and one day went to see it. After sleeping in the morning, I drove west along US Highway 64, toward the mountain. On the way, I passed a slower moving vehicle, a red pickup truck with lots of people in it, four in the cab, five or six sitting in the back. Locals, Native Americans, Navajos. The mountain was superb in shadowed relief as the afternoon sun went lower. I got good pictures in the clear air, under nothing but blue sky. At 8 p.m. I'd have to be back in to work, so the time came to return east toward the hotel. After a few miles there were flashing lights in the distance; as I got closer I saw they were Navajo Tribal Police vehicles. There had been an accident - the pickup truck I had passed had run off the road. It was where the highway went through a cut in the hills, red rock walls rising on either side, red sand and dust below. Bodies wrapped in white sheets, out of place against the red; blindingly white, impossibly white, shouldn't be. I drove past the scene very slowly, and now I don't know if the three Navajo Police officers were moving or not. I see them standing stone still, burdened, slightly bent over, heads looking at the ground, with that big, beautiful blue sky above them. Shock and sadness stepping down from above, grief being born. Navajos are quiet mourners, and I wonder if in the great cycle of all things, of which death is a part, the spirits were then walking away, softly, across their hearts. Law enforcement is no stranger to traffic accidents, and tragic loss of life is sometimes seen, but this was more - this was their people.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2016




Post Comments

Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth so only provide specific positive comments that indicate what you appreciate about the poem.

Please Login to post a comment

Date: 4/18/2017 6:16:00 AM
Good Morning Doug. I don't know if this is true to life or if it is your writing creativity. Either way please know you have to ability to tell a story. Not only can you write poetry you can write stories. That takes skill. Have a wonderful morning and thank you for always showcasing humanity. Well done entirely with expression.
Login to Reply
Vinson Avatar
Doug Vinson
Date: 4/18/2017 7:30:00 AM
Hi Lisa. This is a true one. An eerie, eventful day.
Date: 12/14/2016 12:49:00 PM
Tragically sad, yet beautifully expressed poem, Doug. Ty for this poem and "The Center of Spring" via my email. I had already read "One Good Thing." I appreciate those trio of poems. It showcases your breadth of poetic talent very well. Love your work. This is a heartbreaking poem, but the soul of it burst free through your capable pen. Love and peace to you.
Login to Reply
Vinson Avatar
Doug Vinson
Date: 12/14/2016 4:31:00 PM
Thank you, Freddie. Must be something PoetrySoup does, with the e-mails....
Date: 12/4/2016 2:51:00 AM
Sad, good read, Doug. Beautiful area of the country - I have an aunt who once worked in the hospital/clinic in the town of Shiprock.
Login to Reply
Vinson Avatar
Doug Vinson
Date: 12/4/2016 8:55:00 AM
Yes, Christina, I've been in that little town. The Navajo reservation is huge...
Date: 12/2/2016 8:45:00 AM
Navajo popping up all over the soup standing rock was highlighted the other dai I had never heard of it shocking
Login to Reply
pennell  Avatar
stephen pennell
Date: 12/2/2016 8:58:00 AM
lol lol
Vinson Avatar
Doug Vinson
Date: 12/2/2016 8:52:00 AM
Hey Stephen. Geez, is there no privacy anymore? : p Sorry - could not resist. ; )
Date: 11/30/2016 2:02:00 AM
Very good read ~phatt
Login to Reply
Vinson Avatar
Doug Vinson
Date: 11/30/2016 7:22:00 AM
Thank you, Phatt; I'm glad you read it.
Date: 11/29/2016 10:34:00 PM
You painted a good picture for fellow poets to see with their mind's eye. Good narrative. Best wishes, RP. .
Login to Reply
Vinson Avatar
Doug Vinson
Date: 11/30/2016 7:19:00 AM
Hey RP. : ) It really sticks with me, so many years later. Tragedy and the nearly incomparable beauty of the American west.
Date: 11/29/2016 11:06:00 AM
Very moving, Doug. Well done. Thanks, Kathy
Login to Reply
Vinson Avatar
Doug Vinson
Date: 11/29/2016 11:19:00 AM
Hi Kathy. I'm glad you liked it. That was quite a day.
Date: 11/22/2016 1:16:00 PM
Doug: This may have to be my last of about half a dozen or your works. Now you've got me crying. Very intense, well written. Thanks for sharing with all of us on the soup. Keep them coming. oldbuck
Login to Reply
Vinson Avatar
Doug Vinson
Date: 11/27/2016 11:38:00 PM
I really appreciate that, Old buck. Thank you, my friend.