As one of the co-founding editors of New Mexico’s “Red Savina Review,” Wendy Gist invests her time in helping other writers share their work and in helping readers access good poems. But, she also devotes herself to her own work, as is evidenced by the quality of the poems found in her soon-to-be-released chapbook “Moods of the Dream Fog” (Finishing Line Press, 2016).
Her collection evokes the wide desert landscapes of New Mexico, landscapes that summon the reader to a never-ending road-trip where the next stop is more unsettling, more inspiring than the last.
Take the opening and closing lines of “Visitor at Tsaile Lake”:
It’s dry as drought. A freckle-face cow startles the way, horns point tips to hip. Sun bleached tree limbs strew land all over the place like moo bones. Indian paint brush flame. Grasshoppers buzz the path, streak sand with dot lines, sashaying among piñon pine and juniper to a clearing…
…A truck of boys get stuck today–muck spins wheels, stop again, again spin, at lakes end. Navajo women in a pickup pull up, say: “Are you from around here?”
The narrator is somehow alien to the place she calls home, a place she is nonetheless closely familiar with and understands better than those around her.
Undoubtedly, Gist’s collection is the result of an inspired life, one in which gas stations, ice cream, Sundays and husbands become momentous — deeply meaningful yet rooted in small moments. Her poems share the knowledge that fullness exists independent of time, within the moment.
It’s a nuclear afternoon.
An old lady
standing in the pharmacy line
sobs: “I already know
what they’re going to tell me.”
You dab sweat from temples,
plead to God you don’t black out,
steer your mind to a bath at home, chamomile tinged.
Mortality mutters triumphant.
The urge to flee builds like an overfull bladder.
A display of artificial tulips near racks of allergy pills
bouquets electric yellow.
The doctor told you there are four absolutes:
alive; dead; pregnant; not pregnant.
At home, knowing there is no cure,
you swallow what he prescribed.
Water flows, fills the tub.
To purchase her book, please visit Finishing Line Press.