Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera

Catclaw mimosa
Mike Cook


Quiet Witness


I have grown up                                                   As his spirit rose

With these mountains                                          And flew away

In whose rugged shadow                                     We have helped

I am hugged                                                        The laughing children

Season upon season                                            As they climb here

We have shared                                                  To find their spirits

These rocky places                                              And their songs

Sheltering each other                                           And watched them

Through winter’s desolation                                 Jump through clouds

And reaching long green fingers up                     To catch their dreams

To find each new spring sun                                We have blessed

Softly blowing kisses                                            The frisky pronghorns

To the mesquite and the juniper                           Feasting on my bounty

The oak and the piñon                                         And the elf owls

Who are our brothers                                           And the nighthawks

We have whispered secrets                                  Who have born my seed aloft

To the moon                                                         The field mice and rock squirrels

And taught the wind                                             The rattlers and coyotes

New dances                                                         Have been welcomed

We were old                                                         Into these safe arms

When Oñate walked here                                    And warm hearts

Laughing at my prickles                                       Our roots run deep

Catching in the heavy sleeves                              Our memories stretching far

Of a fat old padre’s cassock                                  Across the ageless desert

And conspiring to hide                                         Peaks and valleys

The warrior                                                          Turquoise skyline and

And his painted pony                                           Gold horizon

Who stood frozen, watching                                And holding hands

We prayed with El Ermitano                                 We raise our faces up

Who clutched                                                       To treasure

My pale blossoms                                                 Each new day





Mike Cook grew up in Deming, New Mexico and is an NMSU graduate. He is a writer for The Las Cruces Bulletin weekly newspaper. Cook loves the Organ Mountains and Las Cruces theatre.