First Night in Taos by Carol Thompson

Camel Rock Monument rises up from the New Mexico landscape between Santa Fe and Taos. Photo by Carol Thompson.

A mystical memory about a magical place from the pen of Poet Carol Thompson

The sun slips into the shadowed Sangre de Cristos Mountains

sending slivers of golden light

clinging to the stacked pastel layers.

From the table at the restaurant’s open window,

my eyes move across the rocky Taos horizon.


The mountain breeze across my face refreshes,

“a storm brewing,” I’d heard someone say.

White linen napkin placed across my lap,

I study the hard-backed menu,

sip the chilled chardonnay.


I thumb back through my day,

guiding the rental car through looming mountains,

missing the Santa Fe cutoff

with precious few highway turnarounds.

Roadside stands offered pinon nuts and beef jerky,

tempting baskets of ripe market fruit,

red chili pepper wreaths.


I ponder the fading floral roadside tributes,

wooden crosses

planted along winding Taos mountain road,

the orange diamond-shaped signs

standing like dutiful sentinels at mountain’s base,

alerting travelers far below the towering peaks

to watch for falling rocks.

The Taos streets stand together against the wind

as dark clouds break apart to scatter blue.

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