Scott Laudati: “the santa fe trail

I kept coming back to Scott Laudati’s remarkable poem, “the santa fe trail.” The imagery that peppered this meandering tale brought it wonderfully back into focus by the end. And it made me laugh! “do you know that there’s a/ whole country out there/ that doesn’t care about new york?/ i do now./i might know everything now.” A poem that touched and delighted me each time I read it.

— Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor of Cultural Weekly, poetry prize judge


the santa fe trail

you can read maps by starlight
in places i’ve been
and you sleep like shit
off the mexican beer
and wake up covered in bites
in hotels where
life is impossible
and everything still alive
wants blood.
did you know what you wanted
at the taco truck in dale hart?
do you know that there’s a
whole country out there
that doesn’t care about new york?
i do now.
i might know everything now.
i’ve drank from the shallow creeks.
i’ve chewed the tacos rellenos with
fire still in the seeds.
i looked up for god and every grackle
in the tree followed my gaze.
next time i’ll follow the trails in the sand
and the small streams will lead me to the window rock.
or maybe the other way –
to lay down in a graveyard
where desert rats use cow skulls as ashtrays.
and if the rains ever come again
maybe white petals
will bud up from my bones
and a lost rabbit can
spend a day
sleeping under my shade.

What are you looking for?