Carolyn Florek

Carolyn Tourney Florek is a poet, publisher, retired garden designer, and visual artist, who recently moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico after living in Houston, Texas for more than thirty years. She has a B.S. in geology (1977) from Wayne State University, and a B.F.A. in painting from the University of Tulsa (1982). Her poetry has been published in The Texas Review, Illya’s Honey, several Houston Poetry Fest anthologies, among other publications. Carolyn’s poem, “Over Flat Creek,” published in the Texas Poetry Calendar 2014, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is co-founder with her husband Bob of Mutabilis Press. Carolyn was artist-in-residence at Bandelier National Monument in the fall of 2015.


Sitting here on a rock in the shade
of cottonwoods and pines,
a fly joins me on this open page;
sunlight spotlights its smallness,
its shadow longer in the slanted light.
It flies up to bother my nose,
then goes.

Here in Frijoles Canyon the trail goes three ways:
to Alcove House through the trees along the Rito,
down the Falls Trail toward the Rio Grande,
or up the Frijolito to the mesa top.

In my heart I want to take all three at once
to see where each will go.
But I am only one pair of legs,
and have no wings like that fly!

I choose the Frijolito, take
this zigzagging, steep climbing trail
up to where once there was a lively village
called now, Frijolito Pueblo Ruins.

I climb, and climb, stopping to breathe,
and look back over Frijoles Canyon;
below the circle of ruins—and across,
cliff dwellings—dark holes in the rock.

This silent place above the rock I sat on first,
this trail I followed here, up to this wild space
full of wind, where I walk to find its traces—
rock mounds where walls once stood, each room
now hidden between rough saltbush and junipers,
each room once warm with voices.