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Teec Nos Pos (Circle of Cottonwoods)

Story by Beth Thomas (Read author interview) December 15, 2007

The shop bell chimes but Rosie does not look up. She knows the tourist will pick up a mano y matate or a horsehair vase, roll it around and feel its weight, then return it to the shelf. Or select an antique turquoise bracelet then shine it on a shirtsleeve.

No matter, Rosie has work to do. The Teec Nos Pos-style rug she is creating will bring in at least ten thousand dollars when finished. Hawaii, she thinks. When it sells, I should go somewhere with ocean on all sides, just for a while.

Mama Mabel calls from the back room, “Be right out!” then rushes through the door, all smiles. She greets the man and starts pointing out both bargains and investments.

Texan, Rosie thinks, looking up. Texan with money to spend here. “Mama,” she calls, “show him the tapestry from last autumn.” She knows this man will buy it: red and black geometry, very Navajo, very Diné. He will hang it on an office wall next to a shelf holding a stuffed armadillo and a dark Anazazi pot. She can not fault him; he doesn’t understand. She bends back to her work.

Mabel laughs and shoves the check between Rosie and the loom: $8000. She snaps the check back and tucks it in her pocket. “Enough to cover us for three months!” she says, and smoothes Rosie’s hair with her hand. “Keep it up and we’ll be able to move to Canyon Road within the year.”

Rosie smiles but continues weaving. She watches her hands move, so much like her mother’s hands all bones and dry skin. She wonders what they will look like in five years, ten: a hundred years old?

Mama Mabel hums in the back room, cleaning, taking inventory. Rosie knows her mother is not dreaming of vacation, of rest. She is planning increased sales, re-investment, a shop on Canyon Road. Rosie worries about her mother, who suffers from a lack of daydreaming, a lack of staring off into nothing for a while.

Thunderbird feathers, black arrows with red outlines, she weaves the design to get it out of her head. Through the tapestry’s thick black border, Rosie weaves a single straight line in cream, a pathway from the inner geometries to the rug’s edge.

About the Author

Beth Thomas is originally from New Mexico but currently lives in California due to military relocation. She works as a technical writer in the aerospace/defense industry—don’t ask what she writes about ’cause she can’t really tell you. She has a BA and an MA in writerly things from New Mexico universities. Her work has recently appeared in Pindeldyboz Online, SmokeLong Quarterly, Juked, Word Riot, and other places.

This story appeared in Issue Nineteen of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Nineteen
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