Kate McCahill

Enchanted Land

Photo by John Simpkins: Clouds forming over "Nipple Mountain" and the Steens, looking west from old Andrews School


It is at times a sleeping land. 

The road, all moon, brings ribbons to her dreams. 

Brick canyons fill with stars. She unearths 

broken dishes, ancient clay and shard of bone. 

It sleeps, the land.   


It is at times a bitter land. 

Her mother’s lilacs never bloom. 

The lights go out, he shuts the door, 

she sees his face in every dream she ever has. 

I forget the words I know I learned. 

Oh bitter land. 


It is at times a wretched land. 

Old cedar burns. 

Old secrets sit unturned. There – a thirsty bruise 

of thorn and sand: a wretched land. 


Coyote sings, and she remembers: 

the ribbon snake is always more afraid. 

For ocean, sky. 

For waves, the grass. 

It is at times a long, enchanted land. 

Kate McCahill lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she is a member of the English faculty at the Santa Fe Community College. Her writing has been published at The Millions, Numero Cinq, and in the Best Travel Writing and Best Women's Travel Writing. She holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her first book, a travel memoir, will be published by the Santa Fe Writers Project in 2017.