'But tears are useless now./ Bring on an army armed with words,/ in love with history;/ forceful as the wind,/ entrenched as deeply / as the native grass/ and passionate."
—Jane Candia Coleman,
The Red Drum


Victoria's work is online at Lunarosity


For more Poetry
Victoria Edwards Tester
Victoria Edwards Tester

Year of Love and Death

It was a year of love and death.
Across the San Simon Valley, the bare
mesquites were wreathed in doves,

and in Oklahoma the blue-eyed murderer
my wild sister slept with was taken by the Duncan sheriff,
her gloating ex-father-in-law,

and here at the mouth of this canyon
when the silver badged-voiced neighbors called to ask
about a pair of mountain lions they were hunting,
we lied. Stood in the big tracks
and said we saw no sign.


In the dark rains of August they called Phillip to track
the bodies of two boys who were
horsing around in the Mimbres river.

Their mother looked down at a rainbow in her lamp,
and when she looked again, her boys were gone.

Maybe she threw that lamp into the river.
Gave the flood her light. Her rainbow. Her wedding band.
Any gift she could find to bargain with.

Turns out they washed out on a far bank way down the other side,
too far for calling,
but more alive than you or I.

They remembered they were holding hands
when they born again, like twins.

They spent the night among kind strangers,
men or bears who built them a great fire,

who showed them how to raise their hands
to greet the humans they warned would cry
when they saw them waving there.

By Lamplight

My husband's hands on the strings
of his guitar while the mountain lion

licks the deer's liver and I tremble at the October
falling against a single oil lamp.

We used to speak to each other,
each sentence marked with twelve blessing
questions like the trill of quail in shadows.

When we finished all the speaking, we were oaks.

We had yes and we had no.

Harder than these pale rose cliffs. Harder than love,
and the wind that carves the rose cliffs.
Just as ordained. Just as alone.