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Michael Gregory: On Second Mesa

The setting sun silhouettes the rain
moving up the painted valley
between here and Old Oraibi

A potsherd, black on white:
Put it back

A patch of stones full of holes:
Leave them

The soft sands of Second Mesa
White clay under crumbling rock

The snakes have gone from our mouths

Under the cedar under the sky
Wherever one steps is sacred


(c) 2021 Michael Gregory is a poet and environmental activist who lives in Arizona.

Ed. note: Second Mesa is in Navajo County, Arizona, on the Hopi Reservation, atop the 5,700-foot (1,740 m) mesa. As of the 2010 census, the CDP population was 962, spread among three Hopi villages, Musungnuvi (or Mishongnovi), Supawlavi (or Sipaulovi), and Songoopavi (or Shungopavi). The Hopi Cultural Center is on Second Mesa.

Old Oraibi, is a Hopi village in Navajo County, Arizona, United States, in the northeastern part of the state. Known as Orayvi by the native inhabitants, it is on Third Mesa on the Hopi Reservation near Kykotsmovi Village. Oraibi was founded sometime before the year 1100 AD, making it possibly the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States. Archeologists speculate that a series of severe droughts in the late 13th century forced the Hopi to abandon several smaller villages in the region and consolidate within a few population centers. As Oraibi was one of these surviving settlements its population grew considerably, and became populous and the most influential of the Hopi settlements. By 1890 the village was estimated to have a population of 905, about half of the 1,824 estimated to be living in all of the Hopi settlements at the time.

Awat’ovi Ruins: Second Mesa, Arizona (Source: Atlas Obscura)

2 comments on “Michael Gregory: On Second Mesa

  1. vengodalmare
    November 25, 2021

    Wherever one steps is sacred

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Huntington
    November 25, 2021

    My grandmother taught on reservations in New Mexico. I wish I had her stories.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 25, 2021 by in Environmentalism, Poetry, spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , .

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